March 13, 2011
Post-quake power issues

When the quake hit, most of the power plants that serve Tokyo went offline automatically. That was a very good thing because Tokyo is served with nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power. Nobody wants a nuclear emergency due to an earthquake.

Unfortunately, we are having one.

TEPCO is handling it as professionally and safely as possible by evacuating 90,000 people in a 20 km radius of the the Fukushima 1 power plant, venting pressurized gas in controlled ways, and basically destroying reactor number one by pumping sea water and boric acid into the reactor to cool it and kill the reaction. Very likely, reactor number one will never be brought back online.

Reactor number three is experiencing a cooling system malfunction today as well, so the TEPCO folks are really hustling. I have confidence that they will keep things under control.

Nobody in Tokyo is at risk. Even if there is meltdown in either reactor, it is unlikely to affect Tokyo dwellers with radiation. Scare tactics aside, we are 200km away and the type of reactor that is in crisis isn’t going to explode.

But the power plant shutdowns very may well affect us in another way. With so many sources of energy offline, TEPCO may not have enough electricity to meet peak demand. It said on Saturday morning that there might need to be blackouts and requested us to conserve energy as much as possible. But then they found some more electrons in a back closet or something and avoided having to cut any power. Today rumours of rolling blackouts and power loss are rampant and it’s hard to find out the facts, so let’s conserve as much as possible and hope for more back closets at TEPCO.

10 ways to conserve electricity

  1. Turn off your TV.
  2. Same goes for stereo, game consoles, computers, printers, etc.
  3. Disconnect your heated toilet seat.
  4. Move your computer server to an offsite host outside Japan.
  5. Unplug appliances you aren’t using. Lots of them draw power even when they are off.
  6. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  7. Turn off lights if you aren’t using them.
  8. Use solar power to dry your washing.
  9. Turn down the heat and put on a sweater.
  10. Start a raw foods diet.

I will be implementing #4 today, hopefully before any rumoured or real power disruptions. But I expect that this hosting transfer isn’t going to go 100% smoothly as I am also upgrading my blogging software at the same time. So I apologise in advance for any ugliness, broken links, or other discombobulations on mediatinker. I will strive to have it all up and running beautifully again asap.

Posted by kuri at March 13, 2011 01:36 PM

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