Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Solar-powered lamps of South Korean origin are in popular demand among North Korean traders visiting the Chinese border city of Dandong, according to a South Korean press report.
A source in the tourism industry in the Chinese city told Sisa Journal North Koreans in Dandong are asking him to procure the lamps.
Electricity is scarce in North Korea, and blackouts are reportedly common in the capital, Pyongyang, according to diplomats who previously lived in the city.
The sought-after lamp has several features, including a control that can adjust the angle of the light. It comes in several sizes that can be used for indoor reading or for outdoor activities.
Sisa's source said the orders began rolling in after he gave a lamp to a North Korean trader.
"The biggest reason is North Korea's power situation is not so good," the source said.
North Korean citizens have been left to fend for themselves when it comes to procuring energy sources, according to Sisa. North Korea's ideology of self-reliance instructed people to find their own means while the state generates electricity through hydropower and coal.
A second source on North Korea told Sisa the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has had a significant impact on North Korea energy policy.
"Renewable energy is more likely to be an alternative," the source said.
North Korea under Kim Jong Un has called for research into renewable energy resources, and an institute with more than 180 North Korean researchers may have been commissioned to study wind, solar and hydropower.
In Japan, the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is being felt again among Japanese fishermen, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Sunday.
Radioactive water is threatening Fukushima's fisheries, and with space running out, the Japanese government is considering diluting the water and dumping it into the ocean, according to the report.