The May 14 closure of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant on the southeastern coast of Japan has raised concerns of power shortages at Mitsibushi Aircraft in Nagoya, among several other companies in central Japan.
The temporary shutdown, completed with the deactivation of the fifth and last running reactor by the plant’s operator, Chubu Electric, could last as long as two years, leaving Mitsubishi executives concerned about possible disruptions to the company’s composites fabrication and assembly operation at Mitsibishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South plant, located adjacent to Nagoya Airfield, the regional airport north of the city center.
Chubu Electric, MHI’s local power company, agreed to help supply capacity to the Toyko Electric Power Company following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that resulted in radiation leaks and forced the closure of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, explained Mitsubishi Aircraft executive vice president of marketing Junichi Miyakawa.
“So what’s going to happen is that Chubu Electric Power Company, which is in charge of supplying electricity to our facility, is going to have some sort of limitation in terms of supplying electric power,” Miyakwa said. “So, again, at this moment the factory is not [affected], but we have to see what will be the additional effect out of the disaster… Making composite material takes a lot of electric power as you might be able to imagine.”
Last September Mitsubishi began fabricating the first MRJ90’s horizontal and vertical stabilizers, both of which consist almost entirely of composites.