13 Octobre 2016
October 13, 2016
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will launch emergency inspections of the same type of power cable that caught fire on Wednesday.
The fire resulted in a massive blackout in parts of Tokyo.
Officials from TEPCO told reporters on Thursday that the same type of cable that ignited at its underground facility near Tokyo had been laid over a distance of 1,416 kilometers as of the end of 2012.
They said that more than 70 percent of this cable, stretching 1,008 kilometers, was at least 35 years old.
That includes sections between western parts of Tokyo and Niiza City in Saitama Prefecture where the fire broke out.
Cable aged 50 years or older accounted for a distance of 40 kilometers.
TEPCO officials said that the cable consists of a copper wire and multiple layers of paper, impregnated with oil, wrapping the copper core. The paper serves as an insulator to prevent short circuits.
They said damage to the insulator could result in power leakage and fire, and that oil used in the paper could then catch on fire and spread to other cables.
They said the emergency inspections to check the high-voltage transmission lines for possible oil leakages and degradation will be complete by Friday.
The industry ministry has instructed other power companies across the country to launch emergency inspections of their underground cables.
The president of Tokyo Electric Power Company has apologized for an extensive blackout that struck Tokyo on Wednesday.
President Naomi Hirose visited the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and met with Minister Hiroshige Seko on Thursday.
Power transmission cables at a TEPCO facility just outside Tokyo caught fire and caused the blackout that affected more than 580,000 households.
Hirose said the incident caused trouble to a great number of people. He announced that his company will launch emergency inspections of cables.
Seko pointed out that TEPCO failed to hold a news conference in a timely fashion and called for better communication from the company.
He also said his ministry finds it problematic that the power company only visually inspected the cables once a year even though they were in use for more than 35 years.
The minister called on TEPCO to thoroughly investigate the cause of the fire and to submit a report on preventive measures.
The TEPCO president pledged to get to the bottom of the incident and make every effort to fully disclose the outcome of the investigation.
Japanese police and firefighters have suspended their investigation into what caused Wednesday's fire at a power transmission facility near Tokyo, which led to a blackout in parts of the capital.
The fire at an unmanned underground facility housing power cables caused a temporary electricity outage affecting over 580,000 houses in Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon.
Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, suspects that aging insulation materials used for the 35-year-old cables may have caused the fire. TEPCO said no problems were reported with the cables during an annual check in June.
Police and fire department personnel, accompanied by industry ministry and utility officials, entered the 6-meter-deep concrete facility on Thursday afternoon to start an onsite investigation.
They stopped the day's inspections later in the afternoon, as the heat and water inside hampered their work.
The temperature of the concrete walls was as high as 60 degrees Celsius, forcing investigators to leave every half an hour or so while the facility was cooled down. The cables were soaked in water in many places.
The inspectors said they will pump the water out and wait for the temperature to come down before resuming their investigation.
The widespread power outage in Tokyo on Wednesday has been linked to a fire involving underground cables installed 35 years ago. Those copper wires were wrapped in layers of paper seeped in oil to prevent electrical leakage.
More than 580-thousand households and offices lost power temporarily.
The cause of the fire is not known, but Tokyo Electric Power Company says it is investigating in order to prevent a recurrence.
Utility officials say when insulation covering a cable sustains damage, the resulting leakage of electricity can lead to a fire.
They add the cables in question are visually inspected once a year, and the last check was performed in June.
October 12, 2016
A blackout hit parts of Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon following a fire involving underground power cables. Tokyo Electric Power Company attributed the power outage to the fire, and said 586,000 households were affected.
The fire broke out at one of TEPCO's underground facilities in Niiza City, Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo.
The utility said underground cables were damaged, and that it is investigating how the fire started.
The company finished rerouting the power supply in about an hour.
The fire was almost extinguished about 4 hours later.
No injuries have been reported.
Government offices in central Tokyo were affected due to the power failure. The Tokyo High Court and District Court were without power for about 30 minutes and officials had to reschedule some trials.
Traffic lights were out at about 200 locations, and police officers were deployed to control traffic.
The power outage also disrupted train services in Tokyo, and left some people trapped in elevators.