Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In nuclear-free Japan, companies scramble to conserve energy

For workers at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Osaka factory, the daily grind continued through the Golden Week holidays.

The company’s decision to work through the vacation days was decided in early April as uncertainty grew over whether the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear power plant, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., would resume operations.

They didn’t. And now that the last running reactor in Japan was shut down on May 5, companies and local governments across Japan have been brainstorming for ways to conserve energy amid prospects of another summer with possible electricity shortages.

Many steps being discussed, such as changing work schedules and shutting off non-essential lighting and services, were undertaken last summer after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. But larger-scale measures are also being considered, such as moving manufacturing operations to areas where power supplies are more stable and even introducing new taxes. Read More