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Energy

Amid heat-wave power crunch, Japan brings back rusty gas plants

Unusual summer highlights energy vulnerabilities after Fukushima nuclear disaster

The 45-year-old Unit 5 of JERA's Anegasaki Thermal Power Station resumes operations on June 30. (Photo by Sayumi Take)

TOKYO -- Japan is already sweating out a dire power crunch as it heads into a boiling summer, introducing measures such as restarting retired gas plants to save power in order to shore up its scanty electricity supply.

Unit 5 of the Anegasaki Thermal Power Station in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, had been mothballed after providing enough electricity to power up to 1.7 million households for nearly 45 years. The once-silver storage tanks are thick with rust, and bare handrails with the paint peeled off leave the distinctive smell of corroded metal on one's palms.

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