nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

TEPCO ex-chairman and others ordered to pay over $95 billion in compensation, shareholders request seizure of property

July 22, 2022

Following the ruling on the 13th of this month ordering TEPCO to compensate its former chairman and four others with over 13.3 trillion yen, shareholders have asked TEPCO to promptly seize the assets of the former chairman and others. TEPCO was ordered by the court to compensate the former chairman and four others with over 13.3 trillion yen.
TEPCO shareholders demanded that the former management of TEPCO compensate the company for 22 trillion yen, claiming that the company suffered massive damages due to the nuclear power plant accident, including decommissioning work and compensation for evacuees. In response, the shareholders’ lawyers filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming compensation of 22 trillion yen.

In response to this decision, lawyers for the shareholders held a press conference on March 22 and announced that they had requested TEPCO to take steps for “provisional execution” to seize the assets of the former chairman and others.

The court decision allows for provisional execution, which means that if the procedure is followed, it is possible to seize the deposits and real estate of the former chairman and others without waiting for the court decision to become final and binding in order to promptly compensate them for their losses.

Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai said, “The fact that the court declared provisional execution on the judgment shows the court’s anger and sense of justice. If TEPCO is truly remorseful, it should not be defending the former management team, but should be executing the provisional execution,” he said.
TEPCO “will consider the matter and take appropriate action as a company”
TEPCO commented, “We will consider the contents of the written request and take appropriate action as a company.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20220722/k10013730811000.html?fbclid=IwAR19wE7q5OOEfZWwMGi-aulOevpWAcTBw4dbB9P2-TpsVuwdFA3nakWswqU

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

General Contributions for Compensation for Fukushima Nuclear Accident Reduced by ¥29.3 Billion for Major Electric Power Companies in FY21, Despite Recovery from Consumers…

July 5, 2022
Due to the severe business conditions of the major electric power companies, the amount of “general contributions” paid annually to the “Organization for Nuclear Damage Liability and Decommissioning etc.” to compensate for the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station has been reduced by 29.3 billion yen from the previous year. The amount of the general burden in fiscal year 202.1 was reduced by 29.3 billion yen from the previous year due to the severe business conditions of the electric power companies. The general burden for FY 2009 includes 60 billion yen in “consignment charges,” which are included in the electricity rates of households and other users, and the NPO says that “the electric power companies’ share of the burden has been reduced while placing a burden on the public. The corporation is complaining that “it is unfair to reduce the amount borne by the electric power companies while forcing the public to bear the burden. (The corporation is suing, saying, “It is unfair to reduce the amount borne by the power companies while placing a burden on the public.)

The general burden is paid annually to ETIC by the nine major electric power companies (excluding Okinawa Electric Power), Japan Atomic Power Company, and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL). The total amount for fiscal years 2001 to 2007 was ¥163 billion each.

 However, it was discovered that the cost of compensation for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will be higher than initially expected, and from FY20, users of new electric power companies that do not have nuclear power plants will also be asked to pay. The government devised a mechanism to recover approximately 60 billion yen annually from the consignment charges included in monthly electricity bills and add it to the general burden. In FY 2008, when the system is introduced in the second half of the fiscal year, the amount will be halved to about 30 billion yen, and in FY 2009, the full amount, about 60 In FY2009, the full amount of the fee was supposed to increase by approximately 60 billion yen.

 However, when Makoto Yamazaki, a member of the House of Representatives of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, inquired about the fiscal 2009 amount, he found that the actual amount borne by major electric power companies and others had increased from 163.3 billion yen in the previous fiscal year to 133.7 billion yen. The background to this is that the electric power companies are facing severe business conditions.

 Behind this is the severe business situation of electric power companies, which saw their ordinary income decline across the board last fiscal year due to intensified competition following the full liberalization of electric power retailing in 2004, as well as soaring fuel costs.

 The amount of the general contribution is determined each fiscal year upon application by ETIC and approval by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry determines the amount of the general contribution upon approval. A ministry official acknowledged the reduction and told the paper, “We took into account the severe business situation, with some electric power companies falling into the red last fiscal year. If the amount is not reduced, the stable supply of electricity will be affected.

 Kenichi Oshima, professor of environmental economics at Ryukoku University and an expert on nuclear power plant costs, said, “If they say they are struggling to pay the general burden, that includes the cost of nuclear power plants. It is not right that only nuclear power plant operators are protected while other industries are also struggling. The government and ETIC should publicly explain the reasons for the reduction.

 The Organization for Nuclear Damage Compensation and Nuclear Decommissioning Assistance and General Contributions The Organization for Nuclear Damage Compensation and Nuclear Decommissioning Assistance was established in September 2011 by major electric power companies and the central government to assist with compensation for the enormous damages caused by the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Established in September 2011. Each company pays the general burden. To make up for the shortfall in compensation costs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) approved a new pricing system in 2008 that allows the recovery of general contributions from consignment charges. The plan is for each company to collect a total of 2.4 trillion yen over 40 years, which is added to the annual general contributions.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/187587?fbclid=IwAR0baRfCuLB4MsT0CF-gkvAkaNWMqNRa8lg5eqKYZDaxZcR3rF8y4mjGyNI

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear plant compensation burden was secretly reduced

© Toyo Keizai Online The benefits of reduced nuclear power plant compensation payments are being extended to major electric power companies. Photo: Kyushu Electric Power’s Kawauchi Nuclear Power Plant

2022/07/04
An investigation by a non-profit organization has revealed that a portion of the cost of compensation for damages caused by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, which is borne by the major electric power companies, has been secretly reduced without proper explanation.

Photo: CALI’s release on March 31 regarding the determination of the general burden. This alone does not reveal the actual situation.

The amount of reduction amounts to 29.3 billion yen for one year in FY2021. Hajime Matsukubo, executive director of the NPO Nuclear Information and Documentation Office, who discovered this fact, criticizes the way it was done, saying, “There is no proper explanation to the public, the electricity users, and the way it was done is opaque.
Reducing the burden on electric power companies by approximately 20%.

Under the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage and Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants, the nine major electric power companies, including Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Japan Atomic Power Company, and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited, have been bearing a total of 11 companies’ costs called the general burden to cover the cost of compensation for victims of the nuclear accident.

A portion of this amount was paid in FY2011 and FY2012, and the full amount in FY2013 and thereafter was paid to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (hereafter referred to as “JNES”). In FY2020, an additional 30.5 billion yen was added as an additional burden, referred to as the “past portion” (see below).

When Makoto Yamazaki, a member of the House of Representatives of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, submitted a written question based on Matsukubo’s point of view, the government responded that the actual reduction in the general burden for FY2021 is 29.3 billion yen. The actual burden for the same fiscal year was 133.7 billion yen.

According to Matsukubo, the burden for the nine companies, excluding Chubu Electric Power and Japan Atomic Power Company, was reduced by about 20% from the FY2020 level. Chubu Electric’s burden was increased by 2.8%, and the reduction for Japan Atomic Power Company was about 14%. The company had the special circumstance that it had been decommissioning nuclear power plants even before the accident.

Regarding the reduction, a CALC official explained, “With the major electric power companies in a difficult business situation, the companies requested a reduction in the existing level of the general burden, which had been determined based on profit levels prior to the Fukushima nuclear accident.

© Toyo Keizai Online Release issued by JNES on March 31

The total amount of general contributions for FY2021, which CALI announced on March 31 after receiving approval from the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, was 194.7 billion yen, up 1.5 billion yen from the previous fiscal year. The aforementioned person in charge said, “The total amount of the general burden itself has not changed significantly compared to FY2020, and the burden on electricity users as a whole will remain the same. The total amount of the general burden itself has not changed significantly compared to FY2020, and the burden on electricity users as a whole has not changed.

However, there is a trick to this explanation.

There are two types of general contributions: one is the contribution related to compensation for the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. The other is a past general burden created in 2015 when it was discovered that the cost of compensation was much higher than initially expected, and the increased amount was added to the transmission charges (charges for the use of transmission and distribution lines) in order to recover it. The new fee is to be collected from the second half of FY2020, as it should have been collected from 1966, when Japan’s first commercial nuclear power plant went into operation, to 2011, when the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident occurred, but had not been collected.

The amount of the past due amount was approximately 61 billion yen in FY2021, when a full year’s worth of fees was collected. 30.5 billion yen in FY2021 was a year-on-year increase of the past due amount, which overshadowed the former amount of reduced fees (29.3 billion yen).
METI and CALI should provide a proper explanation.

A significant portion of the conventional general burden is included in the cost of electricity rates and passed on to users. If the general burden has been reduced, shouldn’t it be used as a source of funds to reduce electricity rates?

Another problem is that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is in charge of approving electricity rates, has not provided proper explanations. When important utility rates are revised, the Consumer Affairs Agency and the Consumer Commission have a system to check the revision. However, the Consumer Affairs Agency says, “There have been no specific consultations and we have not received any information about the reduction of the general burden fee,” since it is not related to the revision of electricity rates.

On the other hand, one member of the Consumer Affairs Committee said, “This is the first time I have heard about this and I am surprised. The way it is done is opaque,” he told Toyo Keizai.

In addition to the complicated structure and method of determining electricity rates, costs related to nuclear power plants have been added to rates in the form of a roof over the head, with new fees collected retroactively after accidents have occurred. Moreover, “the method of determining the general burden is a black box” (Matsukubo).

Currently, the price of natural gas and other fossil fuels is soaring, causing electricity prices to rise, and households are finding it tougher to make ends meet. The fact that behind the scenes the electric power companies were secretly allowed to reduce their burden may cause suspicion toward the electric power administration. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) should reveal the actual situation of the reduction.

July 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Sendai High Court orders Tepco to pay more to Fukushima evacuees

n-tepco-a-20200314-870x567Plaintiffs and lawyers who filed a lawsuit seeking damages for having to evacuate after meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant hold up banners Thursday in front of the Sendai High Court.

March13, 2020

SENDAI – A high court on Thursday ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to pay ¥730 million in damages to evacuees from the 2011 tsunami-triggered meltdown, up ¥120 million from a lower court ruling.

In their appeal at the Sendai High Court, 216 plaintiffs, most of whom are evacuees from areas within 30 kilometers of the plant, maintained their claim for a total of ¥1.88 billion in compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

The latest ruling is the first to be handed down by a high court among 30 similar lawsuits filed nationwide by evacuees and victims seeking damages, either from the power company alone or both the utility and the state.

Tepco knew around April 2008 that there was the possibility of a tsunami that could be high enough to reach the site of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and might cause the failure of the safety functions intended to halt the nuclear reactor,” presiding Judge Hisaki Kobayashi said when handing down the ruling.

The accident occurred while countermeasure construction had been postponed. From the victims’ point of view, this is the thing that Tepco should have the greatest amount of regret over,” he said. “Tepco’s lack of proper preparation is extremely regrettable and should be an important factor in calculating the amount of compensation.”

Also taking into account pain caused to the plaintiffs by the loss of their neighborhoods and hardships during evacuation, the court ordered additional compensation of ¥1 million each for evacuees mostly from areas once designated as restricted residence zones and ¥500,000 for those from former emergency evacuation preparation zones.

In the previous ruling at the Iwaki branch of the Fukushima District Court in March 2018, 213 out of 216 plaintiffs were awarded compensation of between ¥700,000 and ¥1.5 million per person, depending on where the victims were living.

Both the utility and the plaintiffs had appealed to the high court.

It is a fair ruling,” said Tokuo Hayakawa, who leads the plaintiffs. “We cannot go back to our daily lives even if the evacuation orders are lifted.”

Tepco said in a release that it was considering how to respond to the latest ruling.

The value sought in the lawsuit had been lowered by the plaintiffs from ¥13.3 billion to avoid the possibility of a prolonged trial that could have raised court costs and may have undermined the amount of money they could receive at its conclusion.

The plaintiffs argued that the operator could have foreseen the accident caused by the tsunami based on the government’s 2002 long-term assessment of major quakes, and demanded compensation for their “loss of a hometown” in addition to the amount already paid by the power company.

Tepco maintains that it could not have predicted the tsunami, and has claimed that the damages have already been paid to evacuees in accordance with government guidelines on compensation.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/03/13/national/crime-legal/sendai-court-ups-tepco-payouts-fukushima-evacuees/?fbclid=IwAR3fRDL1wZA1ja0AHXkBFkYkaxiLujaP30ZlQhDWb1gl3Q5FDcVl7SYk58w#.XmunEXJCeUl

March 20, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO ordered to compensate ex-plant worker

20190626_34_696708_L.jpg
June 26, 2019
A Japanese district court has ordered the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power station to pay about 3,000 dollars in damages to a man who worked at the plant just after the 2011 nuclear accident.
The man says he was exposed to radiation without being informed about high radiation levels in a building where he worked.
In his suit against Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, and its subcontractors, the 53-year-old plaintiff demanded more than 100,000 dollars in damages.
He said he was forced to work in the turbine building basement of the plant’s crippled No. 3 reactor while being uninformed of a pool of highly radioactive water there.
The Iwaki branch of the Fukushima District Court on Wednesday handed down the compensation order to TEPCO for psychological damage to the plaintiff caused by working at the plant.
The court said he felt concern and fear while warning signals were sounding that indicated another worker alongside him was exposed to radiation exceeding the utility-set limit of 20 millisieverts.
But the court said 16 millisieverts the plaintiff was exposed to in an hour and half were below a level that would pose a health hazard.
The court also turned down his suits against two subcontractors of the utility. It found them not liable for his damage, saying responsibility for a nuclear disaster lies with the nuclear operator.
The plaintiff’s lawyer said the ruling was the first in favor of a Fukushima Daiichi plant worker, but partly granted his demands. The lawyer added that this will encourage other workers.
TEPCO says it will study the ruling in detail and deal with it sincerely.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Top court orders TEPCO to pay compensation for voluntary evacuation from Fukushima

iopm
The Supreme Court building is seen in Tokyo.
 
December 18, 2018
TOKYO — The Supreme Court on Dec. 13 upheld the lower court ruling ordering Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay about 16 million yen in compensation to a man in his 40s and his family that voluntarily evacuated Fukushima Prefecture to western Japan after the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The top court’s First Petty Bench confirmed an Osaka High Court ruling handed down in October 2017 that recognized the man had developed depression due to the disaster and became unable to work. It marked the first time that a ruling awarding compensation to voluntary evacuees from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster has been finalized by the top court, according to a legal team for victims of the nuclear crisis.
Meanwhile, the First Petty Bench led by Justice Katsuyuki Kizawa avoided mentioning the rationality of voluntary evacuation and other points in question as it turned down appeals from both sides against the high court ruling due to “insufficient grounds.”
According to the lower court rulings, the man from Japan’s northeastern Fukushima Prefecture city of Koriyama owned multiple restaurants and voluntarily evacuated with his family to locations outside the prefecture shortly after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis. The owner suffered from insomnia and was diagnosed with depression in September 2011, after relocating to the western Japan city of Kyoto.
TEPCO had already paid around 2.9 million yen to the family of five based on the government’s compensation standards. However, the man and his family deemed the amount inadequate and filed a lawsuit demanding about 180 million yen from TEPCO.
In its ruling handed down in February 2016, the Kyoto District Court ordered the utility pay about 30 million yen to the family after recognizing the causal relationship between the nuclear disaster and the man’s depression. The amount included compensation for the man and his wife’s mental suffering and damage caused by the man’s taking a leave of absence from work.
However, it upheld the government’s evacuation order standards. District court judges determined that voluntary evacuation would be rational only until August 2012 because “it’s difficult to recognize health damage from exposure to radiation below 20 millisieverts per year.”
After both parties appealed the district court ruling, the Osaka High Court basically agreed with the decision but ruled that the man only needed treatment for depression for two years due to the disaster, instead of four and a half years. Consequently, the high court had considerably reduced the compensation money awarded to the man due to his absence from work.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Threat of forced evacuation from Fukushima pushed 102yo to take his own life, judge rules

Threat of forced evacuation from Fukushima pushed 102yo to take his own life, judge rules
9469894-3x2-460x307.jpg
Mieko Okubo, shown here in 2013, would regularly visit the home where her father-in-law took his life.
 
The family of a 102-year-old man who took his own life after being ordered to leave his home following the Fukushima disaster has won a bid for compensation.
Fumio Okubo told his family he had “lived a bit too long” and took his life one day after realising he would be forced out of his home.
His family filed a lawsuit seeking more than $700,000 in compensation, claiming Mr Okubo — the oldest resident of his village 40 kilometres from the tsunami-hit Daiichi power plant — took his life because of the evacuation order.
Judge Hideki Kanazawa said Mr Okubo had lived in the village his entire life and suffered unbearable pain over the evacuation order, as he felt he would likely die before he could return home.
The court acknowledged his suicide was linked to stress at the idea he would have to move and his fear that he would be a burden to his family.
Mieko Okubo, 59, said her father-in-law took his own life because he could not stand to end his life somewhere else.
“It took a long time to get here but I didn’t give up because I am the only one who can let people know how my father-in-law is feeling,” Ms Okubo said.
“I hope he will now rest in peace.”
The family’s lawyer Yukio Yasuda said it was a landmark ruling.
“The court acknowledged the causal relationship between the suicide and the nuclear disaster,” Mr Yasuda said.
Mr Okubo was one of 160,000 people ordered to leave their homes around the plant after the government announced an evacuation.
TEPCO, the reactor’s operator, has been ordered to pay $180,000 to the family and is yet to respond to the ruling.
The operator has been forced to pay damages over two other suicides involving former Fukushima residents who killed themselves after fleeing their homes.
 
Fukushima operator told to compensate for suicide of 102-year-old
20 Feb 2018,
wire-2337988-1519108294-632_1908x1146.jpg
A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to compensate relatives of a 102-year-old man who killed himself at the prospect of fleeing his home.
The Fukushima District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Co (TEPCO) to pay 15.2 million yen ($143,400) in damages to the family of Fumio Okubo, according to their attorney Yukio Yasuda.
Okubo was the oldest resident of Iitate village, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi plant on Japan’s northeast coast, which sparked the world’s worst atomic accident in a generation in 2011.
He took his own life after the government ordered area residents to flee in April 2011, a month after tsunami waves sent the plant’s reactors into meltdown.
“I lived a bit too long,” he told his family soon after he learned of the government-ordered evacuation from a news report.
The court acknowledged his suicide was linked to “strong stress” at the prospect that he would have to flee and his fear that he would be a burden to his family, the attorney said.
“It is significant that the court recognised the eldest man in the village who would have lived out his final days in his homeland was hit by such a terrible tragedy,” he told AFP on the phone.
The compensation ordered by the court was smaller than the 60 million yen the bereaved family had demanded, but they do not plan to appeal, he added.
TEPCO said it would examine the latest ruling before it decides on its response
The firm has already been ordered to pay damages over two other suicides involving former Fukushima residents who killed themselves after fleeing their homes.
Iitate was one of a number of areas the central government declared off-limits due to concerns at the effect of long-term exposure to radiation.
The killer tsunami, triggered by a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake on March 11, 2011, swamped the emergency power supplies at the Fukushima power plant, sending its reactors into meltdown as cooling systems failed.
Many of the tens of thousands of people who evacuated their homes and farms are unlikely to return to their ancestral properties due to radiation dangers.
While the quake and tsunami killed nearly 18,000 people, no one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the atomic catastrophe.
 
Compensation awarded over 102-year-old’s suicide amid Fukushima crisis
n-redress-a-20180221.jpg
Mieko Okubo, the daughter-in-law of Fumio Okubo, who hanged himself at age 102 after learning he had to evacuate from his home in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, speaks to reporters in front of the Fukushima District Court on Tuesday.
 
FUKUSHIMA – A court awarded Tuesday ¥15.2 million ($142,000) in damages to the family of a 102-year-old man who killed himself in the face of an order to flee from his home as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis was unfolding.
The Fukushima District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, to pay compensation, recognizing the relationship between the suicide of Fumio Okubo and the nuclear disaster.
Three of Okubo’s family members had sought a total of ¥60 million from the utility known as Tepco. The man, who had never lived outside of his hometown of Iitate, was found to have hanged himself in his room on April 12, 2011, a day after learning the government was set to issue an evacuation order for the village.
After a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck the Fukushima nuclear complex on March 11, 2011, the plant suffered multiple meltdowns, becoming the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and prompting the government to instruct neighboring residents to evacuate.
The village of Iitate, located about 30 kilometers northwest of the plant, was designated as an evacuation zone on April 22, 2011. The order was lifted in most parts of the village in March last year as decontamination work has helped lower the level of radioactive contamination there.
Presiding Judge Hideki Kanazawa said Okubo “suffered unbearable pain as he was highly likely to die without being able to return home” if he had been evacuated, referring to his advanced age.
In similar lawsuits in 2014 and 2015, Tepco was also ordered to pay compensation by the Fukushima court over suicides linked to the nuclear disaster.
According to the lawsuit in the latest case, Okubo learned of the impending evacuation order through a television news program on April 11, 2011, and told his daughter-in-law Mieko, 65, “I don’t want to evacuate.” He sat in front of the TV for two hours and also said, “I think I have lived a bit too long.”
The plaintiffs argued that Okubo had lived his whole life in Iitate and suffered mental anguish trying to imagine his life as an evacuee.
Tepco denied a causal relationship between Okubo’s suicide and the nuclear disaster and claimed that even if there was some kind of connection, his poor health condition might have affected his decision to take his own life.
Born into a farmer’s family in the village, Okubo became a farm worker soon after leaving elementary school. He kept cattle and horses, cultivated land, grew leaf tobacco and bred silkworms.
“For grandpa, the evacuation order was the same as being told to ‘die,’ ” Mieko Okubo said. After the ruling was handed down, she told reporters, “We won (the compensation) due to everyone’s support. I will go to grandpa’s grave to report” on the court decision.

February 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Political Pulse: The truth about Fukushima nuclear disaster compensation

MW-EH399_japane_20160308124458_ZH.jpg

Of the unknown number of children who have been bullied for being from Fukushima Prefecture, where a nuclear disaster is still ongoing at a power station six years since its outbreak, one boy who evacuated to Yokohama was bullied and extorted by his classmates of 1.5 million yen in total.

Now in his first year of junior high school, the boy wrote when he was in sixth grade, “My classmates said, ‘You get compensation, right?’ That annoyed me, but I was frustrated with myself for not standing up against them.”

Ironically, news reports say that because the family voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture, they are not eligible for the high levels of compensation from the operator of the stricken nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), that some victims are entitled to receive.

Those who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture due to the nuclear crisis can be largely categorized into two groups. The first are those who were forced to leave their homes under evacuation orders from the central government, because they lived in areas where annual cumulative radiation levels exceeded 20 millisieverts, or otherwise faced extenuating circumstances as determined by the state. Such people receive a certain lump sum from TEPCO as compensation.

The second group comprises people who lived in areas with radiation levels that did not prompt government evacuation orders, but who evacuated voluntarily out of concern for the health of themselves and their children. As a general rule, these people are not eligible for compensation from TEPCO.

In the case of forced evacuations, TEPCO conducts individual interviews with evacuees to assess the value of their property and homes. But this is strictly to compensate for the assets that people have lost.

What has often attracted attention but remains commonly misunderstood, is the monthly 100,000 yen per person that evacuees are said to be receiving as compensation for emotional suffering. Those who evacuated without orders to do so from the government are not eligible for this, either.

Meanwhile, the provision of compensation for emotional suffering to state-ordered evacuees whose homes are in areas where evacuation orders are set to be lifted will be stopped in March 2018. Whether or not such evacuees will return to their homes in Fukushima Prefecture once the no-go orders are lifted, they face the harsh reality that they will be cut off from government assistance. The government is rushing to rebuild infrastructure, and appeal to the world that they are lifting evacuation orders. But whether to return or to relocate is a difficult decision, especially for families with children.

People who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture have not only been exposed to radiation, but to prejudice and misunderstanding regarding compensation that they may or may not have received.

The false rumor that compensation recipients are enjoying the high life from compensation payments has spread. We can’t deny that some probably indulged in the momentary influx of money and bought property or a fancy car. But because of that, the internet has been teeming with rumors that compensation recipients are tax thieves or calls for them to go back where they came from. And there’s no doubt that such a backdrop of online defamation and scandalmongering emboldened the children who bullied the boy in Yokohama.

The truth is, the family of the boy in Yokohama had evacuated Fukushima Prefecture voluntarily. They received a little over 1 million yen from TEPCO, but the parents said in an interview with an NHK new program, Close Up Gendai, that the money was put toward rebuilding their lives. Voluntary evacuees are exempt from paying rent due to the Disaster Relief Act, but many must restart new lives amid unstable finances.

The abovementioned boy moved to Yokohama with his family when he was in second grade. Shortly thereafter, classmates called him by his name, with the word for “germs” added on to the end. He soon found himself the victim of physical abuse such as hitting and kicking, and once he reached fifth grade, classmates demanded he give them money.

“I was so scared I didn’t know what to do,” the boy wrote. He stole from his parents and gave away a total of 1.5 million yen.

His parents, and other parents of children at the school who realized that something was going on, alerted the school. The school conducted an investigation, but took the bullies’ claims that the boy had given them money willingly at face value, and did nothing to remedy the situation for two years.

I, too, only learned the truth about the case just recently, but I believe the school’s misguided judgment was likely based on ignorance and prejudice toward compensation given to Fukushima Prefecture evacuees.

The boy’s mother had been traveling back and forth between Yokohama and Fukushima. He knew how much his parents were struggling, so he remained silent about the bullying.

What moved the case into a new direction were notes the victim had written in the summer of sixth grade. A message calling on bullying victims not to kill themselves also written by the now first-year junior high school student who attends an alternative school, was also released to the public.

Compensation is given to some victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But there is still too little compassion toward and understanding of the various misunderstandings, discrimination and divisions that disaster victims face.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170326/p2a/00m/0na/003000c

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Court Decision: Small Compensation for Voluntary Evacuees

MW-EH399_japane_20160308124458_ZH

 

Voluntary evacuees granted only small awards in Fukushima nuke disaster damage case

While the March 17 Maebashi District Court ruling acknowledged that both the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are liable for the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster, it dealt a harsh blow to those who voluntarily evacuated their Fukushima Prefecture homes in the wake of the meltdowns.
The court awarded a total of 38.55 million yen in damages to 62 of the 137 plaintiffs who fled from Fukushima Prefecture to Gunma Prefecture and elsewhere — about one-fortieth of the complainants’ total compensation demand of approximately 1.5 billion yen. This was because the court acknowledged to some extent the rationale behind the government-set “interim guidelines” for TEPCO’s compensation payment standards. The court rejected claims made by over half of the plaintiffs, saying that the amount of compensation they are entitled to does not exceed that which has already been paid by TEPCO.

The interim guidelines were set by the education ministry’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation in August 2011 to ensure swift compensation to cover damages common to many residents in the nuclear disaster-hit areas. Based on the guidelines, TEPCO set up standards for compensation payments, such as a monthly payment of 100,000 yen per person for those from evacuation zones and, as a rule, one-off payments of 80,000 yen for each voluntary evacuee. Voluntary evacuees in nuclear disaster class-action suits across the country are arguing that 80,000 yen is too small an amount, considering that leaving Fukushima Prefecture was a reasonable decision.

Some experts have criticized the district court decision, saying that it only confirmed the legitimacy of the interim guidelines. At the same time, the ruling was based on the court’s own calculation for deciding the compensation amount for each plaintiff, which set five “emotional distress” categories to be considered including the feeling of losing one’s hometown.

Nevertheless, the compensation amounts in the ruling differed greatly between the plaintiffs from evacuation zones and voluntary evacuees. Nineteen plaintiffs who used to live in areas under evacuation orders were awarded compensation payments of between 750,000 yen and 3.5 million yen each, while 43 voluntary evacuees were granted awards of between 70,000 yen and 730,000 yen.

One of the plaintiffs who had voluntarily left the city of Iwaki was awarded about 200,000 yen in damages for the 10-day period right after the March 2011 meltdowns. However, the ruling denied that the same woman’s decision to flee Fukushima Prefecture again two months after the meltdowns was rational, saying that high radiation doses were not detected in Iwaki and no other particularly concerning circumstances were present.

Attorney Tsutomu Yonekura of the national liaison association of lawyers representing Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees said of the Maebashi District Court ruling, “The amount of compensation provided for in the ruling remains at the same level as that set in the interim guidelines, even though the court claimed to have independently calculated the compensation payments. It’s not enough as judicial redress.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170318/p2a/00m/0na/010000c

Fukushima nuke disaster evacuees disappointed by court’s compensation award

Fukushima Prefecture evacuees in a class action suit over the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster were disappointed by the 38.55 million yen in total compensation awarded on March 17 by the Maebashi District Court, as the amount was just one-fortieth what they had been seeking.
“I was expecting to hear a ruling that would support us more,” one of the plaintiffs said after the verdict, which came 3 1/2 years after they filed the suit and six years after the disaster’s onset.

“We have made the court recognize the responsibility of the central government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). I am honestly happy about that,” plaintiff Sugie Tanji, 60, said to a gathering following the ruling. However, she continued, “The past six years was filled with many hardships. I wonder if I can convince myself to accept the ruling…”

Tanji was a resident of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Her 63-year-old husband Mikio ran a repair business, but orders plunged following the No. 1 plant meltdowns. Four months later, the couple voluntarily evacuated to Gunma Prefecture.

Although Tanji felt guilty for leaving fellow residents behind, she took part in anti-nuclear power rallies and demonstrations in Gunma Prefecture and joined the class action suit, believing that there must never be another nuclear disaster.

Of the 137 plaintiffs from 45 households, representatives of almost all the households appeared in court, testifying to the agony of living as evacuees and expressing their anger toward TEPCO and the central government. However, only a few of them have made their names public out of concern for possible discrimination against their children and negative effects on their jobs. Tanji herself recalls being told, “You can get money if you go to court, can’t you?”

Under government guidelines, those who evacuated voluntarily are entitled to only 80,000 yen in consolation money from TEPCO, including living expenses. The plaintiffs thought the amount was far too small considering the pain of losing their hometowns. However, only 62 of the 137 plaintiffs were awarded compensation.

“I was expecting a warmer ruling,” said a woman in her 50s who sat in on the March 17 hearing clad in mourning attire. She was working part-time for a company in Iwaki, but was fired after the nuclear disaster impacted the firm’s business performance.

This and radiation exposure fears prompted her and her husband to evacuate to Gunma Prefecture two months later. Her husband, however, developed a malignant brain tumor the following year, after the couple settled into an apartment that the Gunma Prefectural Government had rented for evacuees. Her husband died in the fall of 2014 at age 52.

The woman says she still doesn’t feel like she can start working and subsists on her savings and survivor’s pension. At the end of March, the Fukushima Prefectural Government is set to terminate its housing subsidies for voluntary evacuees. For her, the compensation awarded by the Maebashi District Court was “unimaginably low.”

“I can’t report the ruling to my husband,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170318/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Government and Utility Are Found Negligent in Nuclear Disaster

18japan-1-articleLarge.jpg

An abandoned home in Futaba, Japan, one of the towns around the Fukushima plant. Nearly 160,000 people evacuated the area after the disaster in 2011.

TOKYO — The Japanese government and the electric utility that operated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were negligent in not preventing the meltdowns in 2011 that forced thousands of people to flee the area, a district court in eastern Japan ruled on Friday.

It was the first time that a court determined that both the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, and the government bore responsibility for the nuclear disaster that followed a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The decision could influence dozens of similar lawsuits filed by close to 12,000 evacuated residents now living across the country.

According to Japanese news reports of the ruling by the Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture, the court said that the disaster, considered the worst nuclear calamity since Chernobyl in 1986, was “predictable” and that it was “possible to prevent the accident.”

The court ordered the government and Tepco to pay damages totaling 38 million yen, or about $335,000, to 62 residents who were evacuated from the towns around the Fukushima plant and who relocated to Gunma. Each was awarded a different amount, but the total worked out to an average of $5,400 a person.

In their lawsuit, 137 former residents had sued for damages of ¥11 million, about $97,000, per person, and the court awarded damages to half the plaintiffs. About half of them had left on government evacuation orders while the other half had decided to leave on their own. Each case was evaluated individually.

The court weighed whether Tepco and the government had paid adequate damages to the nearly 160,000 people who evacuated from the towns around Fukushima. About 90,000 people have returned or settled in other places, and Tepco has already paid about ¥7 trillion in compensation.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said that the central government and Tepco should have foreseen the possibility of a tsunami of the magnitude that hit the plant and that they should have done more to protect the plant.

The March 11, 2011, meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, which is on the eastern coast of Japan, occurred when 32-foot waves breached the power station’s protective sea walls, flooding buildings and destroying diesel-powered electricity generators that were designed to keep critical systems functioning in a blackout.

Tepco did not deny responsibility in a statement on Friday.

We again apologize from the bottom of our hearts for giving great troubles and concerns to the residents of Fukushima and other people in society by causing the accident of the nuclear power station of our company,” Isao Ito, a spokesman, said. “Regarding today’s judgment given at the Maebashi local court today, we would like to consider how to respond to this after examining the content of the judgment.”

Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet minister to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told reporters that the government had yet to see the details of the ruling.

The concerned ministries and agencies are going to thoroughly examine the content of the judgment and discuss how we will respond to it,” Mr. Suga said.

Analysts said the case appeared to set an important precedent.

Tepco’s argument all along has basically been that everything it did before the accident had been approved by the government, while the government has claimed that Tepco failed to follow guidance,” said Azby Brown, director of the Future Design Institute at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and a volunteer researcher with Safecast, an independent radiation-monitoring group.

This suit seems to have concluded that the evidence shows they share culpability,” he said. “I expect the government and Tepco to appeal, and for this to drag on for years.”

Izutaro Managi, a lawyer representing another class-action lawsuit against the government and Tepco, said that the government had failed in its oversight responsibilities. He said the damages were “not big enough.”

Representatives of groups that have sued the government and Tepco for negligence said they were more interested in the principle of the case than the amount of compensation awarded.

The money is not a problem,” said Koichi Muramatsu, 66, a former resident of Soma City in Fukushima and the secretary of a victims group representing 4,200 plaintiffs in the suit being handled by Mr. Managi. “Even if it’s ¥1,000 or ¥2,000, it’s fine. We just want the government to admit their responsibility. Our ultimate goal is to make the government admit their responsibility and remind them not to repeat the same accident.”

In a statement, Katsumasa Suzuki, the chief lawyer for the plaintiffs, called the ruling significant because it “legally reconfirmed that government regulation was inappropriate.”

But he said he was disappointed by the low total of the damages.

It is largely questionable whether the mental distress the plaintiffs faced was adequately evaluated,” he said.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-tepco-ruling.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0&referer=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FTFE8zlaSpi

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Court Decision in 137 Evacuees’ Fukushima Suit: State and TEPCO Must Compensate

gjhkjlk.jpg

 

Court: State and TEPCO must compensate

A court in Japan has ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company to pay damages to evacuees of the 2011 nuclear accident.
The ruling is the first among similar suits filed across the country to order compensation.

137 evacuees mainly living in Gunma Prefecture northwest of Tokyo, filed the suit. They were seeking damages for emotional distress suffered after losing their livelihoods.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170317_23/

Court decision expected in Fukushima damages suit

A district court in eastern Japan will announce its decision Friday on a damages lawsuit filed by evacuees of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident against the state and Tokyo Electric Power Company.

137 people, mainly evacuees living in Gunma Prefecture, filed the suit with the Maebashi District Court, seeking compensation worth about 13 million dollars. The ruling will be the first damages suit of its kind in Japan.

The plaintiffs include those who fled evacuation zones and other parts of Fukushima Prefecture after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They say they suffered emotional distress after losing their livelihoods. They are seeking about 97,000 dollars each.

The points of contention include whether the Japanese government and plant operator TEPCO could have foreseen the major tsunami and prevented the damage, as well as whether the compensation TEPCO is paying evacuees is appropriate.

The plaintiffs claim the tsunami was predictable, citing a 2002 prediction of a massive earthquake by the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion.

But the government and TEPCO say many researchers voiced differing views, and an installation of tide embankments based on the prediction would not have prevented the damage.

The plaintiffs say the compensation they received is insufficient. The government and TEPCO say it is appropriate.

More than 12,000 people have filed similar suits in 18 prefectures.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170317_10/

March 17, 2017 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only 6% of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Compensation Paid by TEPCO

uhhkjlmk.jpg

 

The operator of the crippled nuclear complex in Fukushima Prefecture has only paid 6 percent of the compensation sought by municipalities in connection with the 2011 nuclear crisis, according to a recent prefectural tally.

The delay in payments to the 12 municipalities, designated by the government as evacuation zones, highlights the continuing challenge to their reconstruction efforts six years after the nuclear disaster, triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.

The tally found that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. had by the end of 2016 paid around 2.6 billion yen ($22.5 million) of the 43.3 billion yen demanded by the 12 local governments.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2017/03/463020.html

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO Employee Has Overwork Depression, Seeks Compensation

jnjn.jpg

TEPCO employee says he has depression due to overwork, seeks compensation

A 35-year-old employee handling compensation claims relating to the Fukushima nuclear disaster for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has filed an application with the Tokyo Central Labor Standards Inspection Office seeking workers’ compensation for depression.

Tadafumi Ichii filed the application on Oct. 31, arguing that he started suffering from depression as a result of being forced to work long hours illegally. According to his application and other information, in September 2011 — six months after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis — Ichii transferred to a division tasked with handling complaints from businesses that were not satisfied with the amounts of compensation they were offered for declining sales. In February 2013, he took over the role of giving advice to about 450 TEPCO employees on whether or not to pay damages.

The man clocked 89 hours overtime in March 2013, but he stated, “My overtime working hours, if combined with unpaid overtime and take-home work, stood at 169 hours (in March).” On the morning of June 20, 2013, he could not get out of bed, and failed to show up for work that day. He then transferred to TEPCO’s branch office in Tachikawa, western Tokyo, on July 1, 2013. He frequently started being absent from the office or leaving early, suffering symptoms such as vomiting in the office’s toilet. He was diagnosed on Sept. 3, 2013, as having tendency toward depression and he took a leave of absence from the following day. He was officially diagnosed with depression in April 2014.

The man received a notice from TEPCO in October this year stating that he would be dismissed on Nov. 5 when his recuperation period was due to expire. TEPCO demanded that Ichii submit documents including a doctor’s medical certificate, if he intended to return to work. Ichii says he still suffers symptoms such as insomnia. His doctor, therefore, has judged that he requires further medical treatment, he says.

“I worked hard until I was worn out,” Ichii said at a news conference.

An official with the public relations department at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. commented, “We understand that the labor standards inspection office concerned decides on individual claims for workers’ compensation. We decline to answer questions regarding individual cases.”

According to TEPCO, work to pay compensation to local residents whose livelihoods were lost and companies whose sales dropped due to the nuclear accident started in April 2011 and is ongoing.

As of Oct. 28, there were about 2,691,000 applications and about 6.479 trillion yen had been paid for a total of about 2,515,000 applications that TEPCO had finished screening.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161101/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

TEPCO worker seeks compensation over Fukushima job

A 35-year-old employee of Tokyo Electric Power Company is seeking insurance benefits, arguing that he developed depression due his work dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Tadafumi Ichii spoke to reporters on Monday after filing the request for workers’ accident compensation with labor authorities.

Ichii said that, in September of 2011, he was tasked with paying redress to businesses affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant six months earlier.

He said he was in charge of up to 180 companies and put in nearly 170 hours of overtime a month. He added that he was caught between his bosses and his clients, and mentally driven to the edge.
The utility reportedly plans to dismiss him when his sick leave ends in early November.

Ichii said he sacrificed his health to do the job and that he cannot accept the way his employers are treating him.

Tokyo Electric Power Company said in a statement that the utility will deal with the matter sincerely when it is contacted by labor authorities.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161031_27/

November 2, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Public Cost of Fukushima Cleanup Tops $628 Billion and Is Expected to Climb

Meanwhile, problems still persist at the nuclear plant, most notably with the ‘highly contaminated’ water being stored in tanks at the site

fukushima_cleanup.jpg

That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments, the Japan Times reported.

The public cost of cleaning up the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster topped ¥4.2 trillion (roughly $628 billion) as of March, and is expected to keep climbing, the Japan Times reported on Sunday.

That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will sell off its shares to eventually pay back the cost of decontamination and waste disposal, but the Environment Ministry expects that the overall price of those activities could exceed what TEPCO would get for its shares.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer burden is expected to increase and TEPCO is asking for additional help from the government.

The Times reports:

The government estimates the proceeds from TEPCO share sale at ¥2.5 trillion, but to generate the estimated gain, the TEPCO stock price needs to trade at around ¥1,050, up sharply from current market levels of some ¥360.

In addition, the Environment Ministry expects that the cumulative total of decontamination and related costs could surpass the estimated share proceeds by the March 2017 end of the current fiscal year.

[….] TEPCO and six other power utilities charged their customers at least ¥327 billion in electricity rate hikes after Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident. Moreover, consumers paid ¥219.3 billion or more for TEPCO, chiefly to finance the maintenance of equipment to clean up radioactive water at the plant and the operation of call centers to deal with inquiries about compensation payments.

Moreover, as Deutsche Welle noted on Monday, problems still persist at the nuclear plant, most notably with the “highly contaminated” water being stored in tanks at the site.

“There are numerous problems that are all interconnected, but one of the biggest that we are facing at the moment is the highly contaminated water that is being stored in huge steel tanks at the site,” Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear activist with the group Green Action Japan, told DW. “They are running out of space at the site to put these tanks, the water that is being generated on a daily basis means they have to keep constructing more, and the ones that are not welded have a history of leaking.”

“The situation with contaminated water at the site is a ticking time bomb and they don’t seem to know what they can do—other than to construct more tanks,” she said.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/08/29/public-cost-fukushima-cleanup-tops-628-billion-and-expected-climb

 

August 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima disaster sheds light on lack of preparedness for compensation

fuk expenses estimate

 

The crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has shed light on a lack of preparedness on the part of the government and utilities to pay massive amounts of compensation for a nuclear accident, which has placed a burden on the public.
At a panel of experts at the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), there have been calls since this past January for reviewing the current system under which nuclear plant operators are responsible for paying compensation for accidents without limits and setting an upper limit on damages.

“The number of nuclear power plant operators could decrease as long as they are required to bear risks exceeding their limits,” one member said.

“It’s important for operators to bear responsibility for such accidents on condition that they could have predicted such disasters,” another stated.

These problems emerged because operators cannot ascertain risks involving the operation of atomic power stations unless they can estimate the amount of compensation for accidents.

However, others in the panel argued that operators would cut back on their investment in safety measures unless they are to bear unlimited responsibility. As such, the overall direction of debate on the issue has not been set.

Under the current nuclear plant accident compensation system, atomic power station operators bear unlimited responsibility for compensation for accidents except in cases of massive natural disasters. However, there is no clear definition of “massive natural disasters,” and the national government is only required to extend the necessary assistance for efforts to deal with such accidents.

Following the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the national government placed Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the stricken plant, effectively under state control by providing the firm with an infusion of 1 trillion yen in public funds.

The government then created a system under which it loans necessary money for compensation payments to TEPCO via the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF) without interest. Thus the situation in which TEPCO would go under and become unable to pay compensation to victims of the nuclear crisis has been avoided.

When it placed TEPCO under de-facto state control, the central government explained that the operator of the plant would shoulder the responsibility in principle. However, the reality is different from the government explanation.

Kenichi Oshima, professor at Ritsumeikan University, estimates the total cost of dealing with the nuclear crisis at 13.3 trillion yen. The estimated cost includes 6.2 trillion yen to pay compensation, 2.5 trillion to decontaminate areas tainted by radioactive substances, 2.2 trillion yen to decommission reactors and bring the disaster under control, and 1.1 trillion yen to build interim storage facilities for waste contaminated with radioactive materials.

Of the total amount, TEPCO is likely to pay just over 3 trillion yen on its own, including part of the cost for bringing the crisis under control and paying compensation.

Most of the money needed to pay compensation will be secured from “general contributions” that operators of nuclear plants extend to the NDF. Much of the contributions are passed onto electricity bills consumers pay to utilities. Taxpayers’ money will be spent on the construction of interim storage facilities. Decontamination costs, which the government temporarily foots, will be covered with proceeds from the sales of shares the government holds in TEPCO to lessen the burden on the utility.

“The public is required to effectively shoulder over 70 percent of the costs. The public is being required to pay the costs in a way that lacks transparency,” Oshima said.

If the response to the accident progresses to a certain extent and TEPCO has rehabilitated itself, the government can recover the money it invested in the utility and prevent any increase in the burden on the public. However, this is no easy task.

A high-ranking official of TEPCO’s Kawasaki Thermal Power Plant says it has been successful in streamlining its regular checkup on its generators, shortening the checkup period, increasing the ratio of operation of the latest and most efficient generators and raising the profits by up to hundreds of millions of yen a day.

Learning how to rationalize operations from a worker who had previously worked for Toyota Motor Corp., the plant monitored plant workers’ moves by seconds to reduce time wasting.

“We succeeded in reducing the checkup period, which used to be 80 days in the pre-quake period, to 60 days,” the official said.

However, the increase in profits is attributable mainly to a sharp decline in oil prices. TEPCO posted a pretax profit of 436.2 billion yen in the April-December 2015 period on a consolidated basis. This is largely because fuel costs decreased by about 730 billion yen from the corresponding period of the previous year. If crude oil prices increase, it will offset reductions in expenses.

If the idled Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture is to be reactivated, it will increase TEPCO’s monthly profits by 8 to 13 billion yen per reactor. However, there are no prospects that the plant can be reactivated in the foreseeable future.

If the government is to use the proceeds from its sales of TEPCO shares to fully cover decontamination expenses, the value of one share must exceed 1,000 yen. However, the current price is about the half that amount.

The government and electric power companies had promoted the use of atomic power by emphasizing that its costs are low. However, they failed to include risks of accidents and safety measures in power generation costs, and where the responsibility for nuclear accidents lies has remained unclear. As a result, members of the public are being forced to foot the costs and TEPCO is allowed to survive.

A system under which the government and private sector share the burden of nuclear accidents in an appropriate manner has not yet been established.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160311/p2a/00m/0na/019000c

 

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment