July 2, 2012 / 6:41 AM / 5 years ago

Japan's Kansai restarts mothballed oil-fired unit

TOKYO, July 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co said it began generating electricity from the mothballed 450 megawatt oil-fired Kainan No.2 unit on Saturday, earlier than planned, to help meet a power shortfall over the summer months amid the wide-spread closure of nuclear plants.

Kansai had originally planned to restart the ageing No.2 unit, which had been mothballed since 2001/02, in mid-July.

Japan's second largest power utility on Sunday restarted the 1,180-megawatt No. 3 unit at its Ohi atomic plant, marking the country's first nuclear reactor to come back online since the Fukushima crisis, despite public safety concerns.

Kansai relied on nuclear reactors for half its power output until the radiation crisis at Fukushima, which followed last year's deadly earthquake and tsunami.

Businesses and consumers served by Kansai Electric in and around Osaka, western Japan, have been asked to cut power consumption by 15 percent this summer to cope with the shortfall in its output. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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