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Japanese government considers taking over the Fukushima radiation cleanup

Jtext-radiationflag-japanapan LDP Plan Would Put Government in Control of Fukushima Cleanup, WSJ,  Proposal Would Reduce Tepco’s Financial Burden By  MARI IWATA, 20 Sept 13 TOKYO—Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering a plan that would give the government sole responsibility for containing and cleaning up contamination from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant, allowing its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., 9501.TO -2.28% to focus its dwindling resources more efficiently on decommissioning the facility……..

The government had already effectively nationalized Tepco by buying a majority of its shares, but the stock still trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is eager to see the cash-strapped company return to financial health, a significant challenge, given lost revenue from the idling of all of the company’s nuclear reactors, as well as the costs of the cleanup and purchasing of more liquefied natural gas than before the accident to fuel thermal-power plants to make up for lost nuclear generation.

Tepco has posted two straight years of large net losses since the accident. It swung to a profit in the April-June quarter, solely on the back of a large government subsidy to help it pay compensation to Fukushima victims but it carries Y800 billion ($8.14 billion) in debt that should be refinanced this fall. On top of that, Tepco estimates it must borrow an additional Y300 billion by the end of December if it wants to stay afloat, a spokesman said……..

Under the proposal, Tepco would continue to handle decommissioning operations for Fukushima.

Tepco President Naomi Hirose said Thursday that the company would prepare Y1 trillion ($10 billion) to decommission the entire plant in addition to Y960 billion it had reserved for the work by the end of June. This doesn’t include costs associated with handling contaminated water at the site. There hasn’t been any estimate on the total cost of decommissioning the stricken plant…….Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has urged the government and Tepco to intensify the decommissioning effort, saying “the deadliest risk is another huge natural disaster,” which would “destroy all these makeshift tanks and water processing systems, releasing all the radioactive materials there into the environment.”

September 21, 2013 - Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, politics


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