Power Line
The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan Vol.17
August 2002

Click on Virtual Tours of Japan's Nuclear Facilities

JAPAN'S UTILITY COMPANIES actively promote public understanding of nuclear power generation. Through a “seeing-is-believing” approach, companies conduct tours of nuclear power stations and associated PR facilities. In fiscal 2000, some 370,000 people visited nuclear facilities to participate in these tours. Recently, the utilities have emphasized more stringent anti-terrorism security measures, while seeking to provide as much open public access to nuclear facilities as possible.

Nuclear facilities with virtual tour homepages

Unfortunately it is difficult for many who are interested in visiting nuclear power stations to do so in person. Therefore, in order to provide accessible information on these facilities, in February 2002, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) established virtual tours of nuclear power facilities on its Internet homepage(http://www.fepc.or.jp/english/virtual/index.html). Currently, virtual tours of six nuclear power plants and one nuclear fuel cycle site may be experienced, together with various still images of the actual facilities. Special software is not required for the FEPC’s virtual tours; users may access them using their normal web browser. The images combine two 180-degree photos taken with a digital camera with fish-eye lens, and so present a perfect panoramic, 360-degree view. Users can easily manipulate these multi-directional images and explore the plants at their own pace, simply by dragging the mouse and zooming in from any favorite angle.

Virtual images of the main control room

For example, upon selecting the main control room from the portal site in Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station, an image of the main control room in Unit No.7 appears and can be seen through a window in the visitors’ gallery. If the mouse is dragged to the right, the control room in Unit No.6 comes into view. The detailed wrap-around images allow users to virtually experience and examine these nuclear power facilities. The FEPC hopes that more people will learn about the current status of these facilities through this site, and virtual tours of other nuclear plants nationwide are being added gradually.

The FEPC also provides information in English through this site: the annual review, Electricity Review Japan, provides an overview of Japan’s utilities and electric services; performance data (including information on generating assets and capacity and financial data); the outlook on future power development; and a comparison of Japan and other major countries with regard to performance data. This review also describes how, through electricity exchange, utilities (FEPC members) can achieve a reliable power supply. On the site’s Nuclear Power page, information is provided on the mechanisms and necessity of the nuclear fuel cycle currently promoted by Japan’s electric power companies; the Environment page discusses the contribution of nuclear power to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
For more facts on Japan’s nuclear power industry in English, please visit our website at http://www.fepc.or.jp/english/