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Why Japan's Fragmented Grid Can't Cope

Bridging Japan's east-west frequency divide to stoke power flows will require real engineering hustle

6 min read
Why Japan's Fragmented Grid Can't Cope

Editor's Note: This is part of IEEE Spectrum's ongoing coverage of Japan's earthquake and nuclear emergency. For more details on how Fukushima Dai-1's nuclear reactors work and what has gone wrong so far, see our explainer.

6 April 2011—The earthquake and tsunami that destabilized Japan’s Fukushima Dai-1 nuclear power plant last month also blew a large hole in the country’s power supply. Eleven nuclear reactors in eastern Japan shut down, including three that were running at Fukushima Dai-1 and four at the nearby Fukushima Dai-2 plant. In all, more than 27 gigawatts of power generation were out of commission, forcing Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)—operator of the Fukushima reactors and power supplier to greater Tokyo—to ration power by instituting rolling blackouts.

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Greg Mably


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