Lord Patel reported on January 31 that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detailed 199 case of data falsification and other irregularities between 1979 and 2002 at its 13 nuclear plants in a report to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Japan's 55 reactors have been hit by a series of regulatory outages over the past three years, which have kept a number of them off-line, and kept the national average capacity factor below 70%.
There are now reports that after this continuing ( and it appears enduring) scandal Japanese wholesale electricity prices will rise this summer by 58% to exceed 21 yen (17.7 cents) a kilowatt-hour for the peak hours of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. as demand rises in July and August. Tommorrows price is for example 13.53 yen up from 13.33 yesterday.
The latest global figures available (for 2004) show that Japan's retail electricity prices for household use averaged 19.6 cents US a kilowatt-hour, compared with 8.9 cents for the U.S., 17.6 cents for Germany, and 14.1 cents for France (source OECD).
These price rises relate to the reduced nuclear capacity and the switch to oil which is a more costly power generation route . Ten regional electricity utilities burned less than 1 million kilolitres in February alone compared with 2.3 Kilolitres in the whole of 2006.
The Japanese meteorogical agency reports that temperatures have been higher this spring and expect a warmer than average summer. In the financial districts of Tokyo (Otemachi) the February temperature ( 47 F) was the highest for 131 years. With summeriem temperatures in Japan's cities around 27 degrees celsius the air con's will be working overtime.