News & AnalysisNewsmaker Interview: Seiji Yasumura

Japan's Electricity Woes Have Researchers Sweating

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Science  05 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6043, pp. 685
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6043.685

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Summary

It's an uncomfortably hot summer in Japanese laboratories and only partly due to the heat and humidity. Power shortages following the Fukushima nuclear crisis are forcing labs to set thermostats at 28°C or forgo air conditioning, shut down elevators, and lower lighting levels. Researchers are scaling back supercomputer use, delaying experiments, and disposing of frozen samples. They have a stiff incentive: Major facilities or campuses whose average hourly electricity usage between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. exceeds 85% of year-ago levels could be hit with $12,000-per-hour fines.