nuclear-news

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

State funds to be used for clean-up in Fukushima

jjkkllm22 dec 2016 public money.jpg

 

The Japanese government, for the first time, is using state funds for decontamination work in areas affected by the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture.

The environment ministry earmarked roughly 30 billion yen, or about 250 million dollars, in the fiscal 2017 budget plan, which was approved by the Cabinet on Thursday.

The allocation will be for cleaning up no-entry areas where radiation levels remain prohibitively high.

The government has so far made the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, pay for the cleanup, based on the principle that the entity responsible for the contamination should bear the cost.

Some lawmakers within the governing coalition are opposed to the turnaround in policy, saying the government should continue to make TEPCO pay.

Environment minister Koichi Yamamoto told reporters on Thursday that the ministry will carefully explain the decision in an effort to seek public understanding on the use of state funds.

The Environment Ministry says it estimates the cost of decontamination work carried out by TEPCO so far at around 36 billion dollars.

But the cleanup of the heavily-contaminated areas that starts from fiscal 2017 is expected to be more time- and labor-consuming than the work in lesser tainted areas.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161222_21/

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima costs to soar to $176 billion

20161021_fukushima_1_article_main_image.jpg

Fukushima costs to soar to 20 trillion yen

TOKYO — The combined costs of paying compensation for the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the decommissioning of the plant’s reactors may be double the initial estimate, rising to more than 20 trillion yen ($176 billion), according to estimates by the country’s industry ministry.

At the end of 2013, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry calculated the cost at 11 trillion yen, which has since become the government’s official estimate.

As electric companies other than Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled plant, will also pass part of the cost on to consumers through higher rates, an increase in the public burden is unavoidable.

According to multiple sources, the ministry has already conveyed its new estimates to members of its expert panel, which is in discussions on reforming the management structure at Tepco and measures to secure funds.

The ministry aims to reach an agreement with the Ministry of Finance during planned discussions over the expansion of an interest-free loan program from 9 trillion yen to support Tepco.

The 11-trillion estimates foresaw 5.4 trillion yen for compensation payments; 2.5 trillion yen for decontamination work; 1.1 trillion yen for the construction of interim radioactive waste storage facilities; and 2 trillion yen secured by Tepco to scrap the reactors.

The new estimates see compensation payments costing 8 trillion yen and 4-5 trillion yen for decontamination.

The cost of decommissioning reactors — a process which will span at least 30-40 years — are projected to swell to hundreds of billions of yen a year from the current 80 billion. That would add several trillion yen to the overall cost.

Combined with the cost of building interim storage facilities, the total cost is forecast to exceed 20 trillion yen.

The snowballing costs are due mainly to the expansion of the number of people eligible for damages and the difficulty of conducting decontamination work, neither of which was fully understood when the initial estimates were made.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Fukushima-costs-to-soar-to-20-trillion-yen*

n-fukushima-a-20161129-200x200

Cost of Fukushima disaster expected to soar to ¥20 trillion

The overall cost of wrapping up the Fukushima nuclear disaster is now estimated at more than ¥20 trillion, nearly double the previous estimate, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which previously put the overall cost at ¥11 trillion, is considering passing on a portion of the costs, including for compensation and the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, to consumers via higher electricity prices, the sources said.

The aged, six-reactor plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., was plunged into a blackout by the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, leading to three core meltdowns and the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

According to the new estimate, Tepco’s compensation payments will rise to ¥8 trillion from ¥5.4 trillion and decontamination costs will double to around ¥5 trillion.

Trillions more will be needed to decommission the reactors and deal with radioactive water at the plant, on top of the ¥2 trillion earlier estimated, the sources said.

The ministry has been discussing reforming crisis-hit Tepco and is about to draft a plan for the utility based on the new estimate within this year.

Combined with the cost of building interim waste storage facilities, foreseen to remain at ¥1.1 trillion, the total cost is forecast to surpass ¥20 trillion, the sources said.

The government is studying the possibility of expanding a ¥9 trillion interest-free loan program for Tepco that was set up by issuing government bonds to cover compensation payments and decontamination costs in areas hit by the disaster.

It is expected to take up to 30 years to recover the ¥9 trillion through payments from Tepco and other big utilities.

The government also plans to recover the expected increase in compensation payments and decontamination expenses by raising charges for transmission line usage for new electricity retailers.

In principle, Tepco needs to secure funds on its own for decommissioning the plant. The government will manage the funds, which will be established using profits generated by the utility. But it is not clear if Tepco alone can shoulder the cost.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/28/national/cost-fukushima-disaster-expected-soar-%c2%a520-trillion/#.WDz8mlzia-d

kjjkll.jpg

Fukushima nuclear decommission, compensation costs to almost double: media

Japan’s trade ministry has almost doubled the estimated cost of compensation for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and decommissioning of the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant to more than 20 trillion yen ($177.51 billion), the Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday.

The trade ministry at the end of 2013 calculated the cost at 11 trillion yen, which was comprised of 5.4 trillion yen for compensation, 2.5 trillion yen for decontamination, 1.1 trillion yen for an interim storage facility for contaminated soil, and 2 trillion yen for decommissioning, the report said.

The new estimate raised the cost of compensation to 8 trillion yen and decontamination to 4-5 trillion yen, the cost for an interim storage facility remained steady, and decommissioning will rise by several trillion yen, it added.

The part of the cost increase will be passed on in electricity fees, it added, citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The ministry could not provide immediate comment.

On March 11, 2011, a massive 9 magnitude earthquake, the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan, created three tsunamis that knocked out the Fukushima-Daiichi plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will discuss with the Ministry of Finance a possible expansion of the interest-free loan program from 9 trillion yen, to help support the finances of the Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co’s, the report said.

The cost of cleaning up Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant may rise to several billion dollars a year, from less than $800 million per year now, the Japanese government said last month.

The Mainichi newspaper reported in October that Japan’s utilities lobby expects clean-up and compensation costs from the Fukushima disaster to overshoot previous estimates by 8.1 trillion yen.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tepco-outlook-idUSKBN13N03G

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | 1 Comment

Swelling Decommissioning Costs, Who’s Gonna Pay

 

The 2016 road report points to inflated decommissioning costs.
Three reactor meltdowns to be decommissioned,
an unprecedented task in the world.
It’s a long journey, to continue to record the series
“The road to decommissioning”.

Five years and half years have passed since the disaster at the Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, among the many technical difficulties, the removal of nuclear fuel remains a challenge.

As the disaster costs keep on rising more than expected, it is becoming extremely difficult to to finance them under the current system.

Not just the increase in labor costs and technology development costs, and the cost of decontamination to enable the residents return, but also the compensation costs, all are significant. Therefore the current « system » to finance those costs has hit a wall.

TEPCO recently complained of the severity of the burden, it seeked from the country a policy to provide additional support. Who is to pay.

God only knows how much those costs will swell, and whose burden will they be.
The overall picture of the disaster costs is already hard to visualize, the sustainable “road to decommissioning” even more.

 

 

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s New Utilities Object to Footing Part of Fukushima Bill

1102N-Fukushima-Daiichi_article_main_image.jpg

 

TOKYO — Japanese independent power providers are up in arms over a government proposal to have them shoulder some costs related to the fallout of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, including compensating victims and decommissioning old reactors.

“Why should we have to pick up compensation costs for Tepco’s accident?” fumed a top official at a company selling electricity in the Tokyo area, referring to Fukushima Daiichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings.

Given the narrow profit margins involved in power retailing, new suppliers will likely pass these costs on to customers. More than half a year on from the full liberalization of Japan’s electricity retail market, just 3% or so of households have switched to independent power providers from big regional utilities that had monopolized the market. Some observers worry that forcing newcomers to take on some of the nuclear costs could further slow the glacial pace of the market expansion by taking away their price advantage.

The charges will likely be collected by adding them onto fees for using the regional utilities’ transmission infrastructure. “We won’t have any choice but to raise rates,” sighed an executive at a major independent power supplier.

Many people chose to make the jump from regional utilities as a protest against nuclear power. “It’d be tough to get customers to accept” covering nuclear-related costs, Tokyo Gas President Michiaki Hirose told reporters in October. Tokyo Gas is the largest of the new players with more than 500,000 service contracts.

Sure enough, Tokyo-area suppliers have heard complaints from such customers arguing that having independent providers cover decommissioning expenses would render their decision to switch pointless. “We’ve gotten questions from customers about whether we’re going to pay” these costs, said the head of an independent power company that focuses on renewable energy.

The government aims to scrap aging nuclear reactors while bringing newer facilities back online. One of the major new power providers acknowledges that it would be impossible to maintain nuclear power generation without support from the whole country.

But the new suppliers are demanding to know the details of Tepco’s compensation costs before they pay up. Many also argue that regional utilities should be forced to provide some cheap nuclear power to the electricity wholesale market so they will also feel pain if newcomers are forced to contribute funds.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Japan-s-new-utilities-object-to-footing-part-of-Fukushima-bill

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo to Burden New Utilities, Public With Paying Soaring Costs of Fukushima

1031976002.jpg

 

 

Struggling to curb the ever-growing cost of the fallout from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Tokyo has come up with an idea of obliging future utility companies to pay a share of the compensation to victims, and for potential future meltdowns.

Today, Japan’s top ten conventional energy companies, including Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (Tepco), which owned the Fukushima plant, are providing regular contributions to the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., established following the March 2011 disaster.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) proposed Wednesday that electricity companies that enter the retail electricity market after the regulatory loosening up in April 2016 will pay a share of Fukushima compensation as well, the Japa Times reported.

The agency has also designed a new system that would force Tepco, Japan’s largest electric utility, to allocate its excess profits to a fund dealing with the decommissioning of the Fukushima facilities’ reactors. Under current legislation, Tepco’s extra profits are returned to customers in the form of lowered electricity bills. METI noted that customers should have to share responsibility for the liquidation of the disaster aftermath, as they have long benefited from nuclear power. In the meantime, the costs for relieving the disaster’s consequences continue to surge. Expenditures on cleanup of the meltdown site have already exceeded the two trillion yen that the government had hoped to spend on it. By the end of the 2015 fiscal year, some 4.2 trillion yen had been spent to decommission the reactor, compensate victims and carry out radioactive decontamination at the meltdown spot.

Some 2.34 trillion yen have also been allocated to a special account for creating an interim storage facility for contaminated soil, disposal of contaminated water and for the decontamination of affected areas.

Tepco’s efforts to prevent the contamination of underground water with frozen soil barriers have not been fruitful so far, however, suggesting that new solutions and new transactions are required. METI has estimated that cleanup and decommissioning efforts will likely take more than 30 years to complete. The Fukushima Daichii plant’s reactors melted down after the Great East Japan Earthquake, followed by a disastrous tsunami. It was the most significant nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.
https://sputniknews.com/asia/201611031047015858-new-utilities-public-pay-fukushima/

 

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Costs are ballooning for dismantling Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant

“The government has estimated that decontaminating the areas around the Fukushima plant, including removing radiated topsoil, buildings and trees, will cost at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).
But experts have been warning that such estimates may be too optimistic.”

ct-fukushima-nuclear-plant-20161025-001.jpg

Workers check storage tanks of radiation-contaminated water at tsunami-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, on March 24, 2015.

Japan’s estimate of dismantling the Fukushima nuclear plant is ballooning far beyond the utility’s estimate of 2 trillion yen ($19 billion).

A government study released Tuesday found decommissioning the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant already has cost 80 billion yen ($770 million) over the last three years.

The plant suffered multiple reactor meltdowns due to damage from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The ministry overseeing nuclear power said the decommissioning costs will continue at several hundreds of billions of yen (billions of dollars) a year.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operated and is now decommissioning Fukushima Dai-ichi, has said decommissioning will take several decades.

Even if it were to take 30 years at an estimated annual cost at 300 billion yen ($3 billion), both conservative projections, the cost would be nearly 1 billion yen or $100 billion.

TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki declined comment on the government projection, but he acknowledged TEPCO was still trying to determine what exactly the decommissioning effort might involve.

“It is difficult to calculate the entire cost for the decommissioning,” he said, adding that the 2 trillion yen figure had so far taken into account the effort to remove the nuclear debris, taking the example of Three Mile Island in the U.S., as well as costs and equipment needed to keep the reactors stable.

ct-fukushima-nuclear-plant-20161025-002.jpg

A security guard stands guard on one of the totally empty main streets in Namie, a town north of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, 09 March 2016.

The study did not distinguish between costs borne by the government and borne by TEPCO, which received a government bailout.

Japan has been struggling to clean up parts of the no-go zone to put the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl behind it.

The government has estimated that decontaminating the areas around the Fukushima plant, including removing radiated topsoil, buildings and trees, will cost at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).

But experts have been warning that such estimates may be too optimistic. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima displaced about 150,000 people.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-fukushima-nuclear-plant-20161025-story.html

 

 

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | 1 Comment

Prospect of Niigata nuke plant delay threatens Tepco’s Fukushima plans

ygjhjjkj.jpg

TOKYO — The election of an anti-nuclear candidate as governor of Japan’s Niigata Prefecture could hit the finances of not only Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings but the public as well, as the utility is relying on a reactor restart in Niigata to cover Fukushima cleanup costs.

The central government reached an arrangement in 2014 to extend up to 9 trillion yen ($86.6 billion currently) in interest-free loans to pay for dealing with the fallout of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster. Of this, 5.4 trillion yen is to go toward compensating those affected, with Tepco and other power companies, including Kansai Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, to repay the loans. Another 2.5 trillion yen is earmarked for decontamination work, with the costs to be recouped through the sale of Tepco shares held by the government.

But more than 6 trillion yen in compensation has been paid out so far, and cost overruns on decontamination are seen as all but certain. Decommissioning work at Tepco’s Fukushima plant, such as extracting fuel, falls outside the 9 trillion yen framework.

The 2 trillion yen Tepco had aimed to secure on its own to pay for scrapping the plant will be nowhere near enough. The utility and Japan’s industry ministry had counted on bringing the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture back online, which would improve Tepco’s earnings by 240 billion yen a year. But Gov.-elect Ryuichi Yoneyama has indicated that he is not amenable to a quick restart.

An expert panel set up by the ministry started discussing how to handle the additional costs this month. It laid out a scenario in which improved profit margins at Tepco via restructuring, along with profits from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility, would be used to minimize the amount shouldered by taxpayers.

The longer it takes to restart the plant in Niigata, the larger the hit will be to Tepco’s available funding for Fukushima costs. Though the utility will squeeze out some money via internal reforms, Tepco may use rate hikes to pass on to the public what it cannot cover itself. Tepco and other utilities already have raised rates to recoup part of the compensation costs. A top industry ministry official indicated that rate increases will also be on the table to pay for decommissioning.

Power companies besides Tepco could be affected as well. Since many nuclear plants in eastern Japan use boiling-water reactors like those at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, further delays could hold up other reactor restarts in the region.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Prospect-of-Niigata-nuke-plant-delay-threatens-Tepco-s-Fukushima-plans

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Public to get new $83-billion bill for Fukushima, reactor expenses

daiichi.jpg

The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture.

The government plans to make the public pay an additional 8.3 trillion yen (about $83 billion) to decommission reactors at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and provide compensation for evacuees of the 2011 disaster, sources said.

The public’s money will also be used for the future decommissioning of reactors at other nuclear plants, they said on Sept. 20.

The burden will also affect families that switched from nuclear power generating utilities to new electric power companies after the liberalization of the electricity retail market for families in April this year.

Major utilities that operate nuclear plants are, in principle, required to secure funds through electricity charges to decommission their reactors. Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, is no exception.

Under the reforms of the power industry, the new electric power companies, which do not operate nuclear plants, were exempt from shouldering any burden related to nuclear power.

But the industry ministry wants to change that arrangement.

Even people in the ruling coalition and the government are criticizing the plan as an attempt to ease the burden of utilities that had long held regional monopolies.

The plan will damage the basic idea of the reforms,” said Taro Kono, former chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

To realize the plan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aims to submit revisions to the Electricity Business Law to the next year’s ordinary Diet session.

A government-approved organization is procuring funds from major electric power companies to assist in the eventual decommissioning of the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

However, TEPCO has asked the government for additional support because more money will be needed for the lengthy operation.

The costs to decommission the reactors at the Fukushima plant are expected to soar to 6 trillion yen from the current estimate of 2 trillion yen, according to in-house documents of the industry ministry.

The ministry also needs an additional 3 trillion yen to cover compensation payments for evacuees from the 2011 nuclear disaster and 1.3 trillion yen to decommission reactors of other nuclear plants in the future, according to the documents.

To get the new electric power companies to pay part of the 8.3 trillion yen, the ministry plans to increase power grid “usage fees,” which are paid to major electric power companies.

It is necessary to collect costs from all of the people fairly,” said a high-ranking official of the ministry.

Some of the consumers switched to new electric power companies because they did not want to continue using electricity produced by nuclear power plants.

But the ministry official pointed out that those consumers had been using nuclear-generated electricity until March.

New electric power companies, which do not have their own power grids, have concluded contracts with only 2 percent of all households in Japan.

The ministry is concerned that if more families switch from nuclear plant operators to the new companies, it could become difficult to secure sufficient funds to cover reactor decommissioning costs.

Under the ministry’s plan, a standard family of three in areas covered by TEPCO will be required to pay an additional 180 yen every month. In areas covered by other major electric power companies, the corresponding figure will be about 60 yen.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609210045.html

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

State funds planned for cleaning heavily contaminated zones in Fukushima

Privatized profit, socialized risk and clean up

b-yenbills-a-20160408-870x581.jpg

 

The government plans to use state funds to finance the radiation cleanup in the areas most seriously contaminated by the Fukushima disaster in 2011, government sources said Friday.

It is the first plan to decontaminate the “difficult to return to” zones, including a large portion of the two towns hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and parts of other nearby municipalities in the prefecture.

The move is intended to expedite the cleanup process but may draw criticism because it will effectively reduce the financial burden on Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the utility responsible for the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Under the current legal framework, the decontamination costs are first shouldered by the state, with Tepco told to reimburse the expenses over time. But since the costs are expected to far exceed the ¥2.5 trillion estimated earlier, the utility has requested more financial support.

The government plans to conduct decontamination in the difficult-to-return-to zones, which comprise about 337 sq. km of land where around 24,000 people used to live, the sources said.

The work within the designated “reconstruction bases” will include removing buildings, replacing soil and paving roads.

Tepco will only be asked to shoulder the costs of cleaning existing facilities and infrastructure that will continue to be used within the reconstruction bases.

The government hopes to officially endorse the plan this month, the sources said.

The Fukushima disaster, triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, prompted the government to issue evacuation orders to 11 municipalities near the plant.

The areas have been reclassified into three categories based on radiation level — a zone where evacuation orders are ready to be lifted, a zone where human habitation is restricted, and a zone where residents will have difficulty coming back to for a long time.

The areas subject to evacuation are gradually being reduced, with the government setting a goal of lifting all the remaining orders apart from the difficult-to-return-to zones by next March.

In the heavily contaminated zones, the government plans to conduct costly and intensive radiation cleanup efforts that will allow it to lift the evacuation orders in five years’ time.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/20/national/social-issues/state-funds-planned-cleaning-heavily-contaminated-zones-fukushima/#.V7h3ojXKO-d

August 21, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment