JAPANESE ELECTRIC UTILITIES PLAN TO PLUG NUCLEAR POWER

JAPANESE ELECTRIC UTILITIES PLAN TO PLUG NUCLEAR POWER

Japan's electric utilities sector will focus on promoting nuclear power and developing new and efficient technologies to provide a cheap, reliable and environmentally friendly source of power, Kohei Abe, chairman of Chubu Electric Power Co., said Friday.

Mr. Abe, former chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies, was speaking at the Japan Energy Seminar at the World Energy Council's 16th Congress in Tokyo."The electrical utilities emphasize the promotion of nuclear power development" in order to achieve an optimal mix of energy sources, Abe said.

''It is essential for Japan, almost wholly dependent on overseas resources for its energy, to establish a domestic nuclear fuel cycle and promote the peaceful use of plutonium," he said.

On technology, Mr. Abe said that the power industry has been exploring alternative forms of energy such as wind power and fuel cells.

Mr. Abe also noted that a hurdle for the industry to overcome was load leveling, or optimal use of capacity.

He said that huge gaps between high summer peak loads and low periods are hurting the efficiency of Japan's power companies.

''We will also take active steps to create and expand rate systems for load leveling," so that end-users can shift consumption periods more easily, Mr. Abe said.