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TEPCO to delay seeking end to state control by 2 years to FY 2019

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Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will delay a decision on whether to seek an end to its state control by about two years to fiscal 2019 amid ballooning costs stemming from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, an outline of its new business plan showed Wednesday.

The move is another sign the utility is struggling to revive its business even after receiving a capital injection of 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) from the government in 2012 to bolster its financial standing. But disaster cleanup costs have continued to rise, with the latest estimate reaching 22 trillion yen.

Under its latest business turnaround plan, which will be the third major revision since the first one was formulated in 2011, TEPCO aims to realign or integrate its nuclear and power transmission and distribution businesses with other utilities to improve its profitability. But it is uncertain whether business will get back on track as planned, with other utilities cautious about such tie-ups.

 

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2017/03/464967.html

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

Japan’s TEPCO looking for international help to clean up Fukushima nuclear plant

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The call for partners follows two robotic failures during cleanup efforts at the plant last month

TOKYO—The Tokyo Electric Power Co. has issued a call for partners to help it decontaminate and decommission the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The nuclear power plant was seriously damaged in 2011 by a tsunami triggered by a powerful offshore earthquake. The subsequent reactor meltdowns led to the release of radioactive material, which remains at high levels inside the plant six years after the accident.

The call for international collaboration follows two robotic failures inside Fukushima’s Unit 2 reactor last month. One cleaning robot was pulled out of the plant prematurely due to higher-than-expected radiation, while another had to be abandoned inside after its crawling function failed.

Earlier this month, Naohiro Masuda, the head of decommissioning at the plant said engineers will need to think ‘out of the box’ to develop robots capable of surveilling the plant.

TEPCO said it is particularly interested in consultants with on-site recycling methods that could reduce the amount of radioactive waste being generated—though it noted there are many other areas of expertise it’s interested in as well.

More details about the collaboration program are available here.

http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/environment-and-safety/japans-tepco-looking-for-international-help-to-clean-up-fukushima-nuclear-plant-189081/

TEPCO is looking for partners that would realize innovative values and solutions to critical social issues.

Through challenging ourselves with new technology, dealing with various businesses, and making even greater use of the big data stored and created by TEPCO, we contribute to society’s development by creating new value for the lives and businesses of consumers and business people.

Co-creation will open new doors.

By partnering with you, we will be able to tackle issues we could not before. It is our mission to create better future by openly cooperating with everyone as we move forward.

https://tepco.cuusoo.com/#about

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

TEPCO to Focus on Joint Ventures for Rehab

What company in their right mind would want to hook up with a zombie company so they could leech 21.5 trillion yen from them?

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Tokyo, March 22 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. on Wednesday released an outline of its new rehabilitation plan focusing on joint ventures with other companies, to find a way out of the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011.
But with other power companies cautious about industry realignment and business integration, TEPCO is expected to continue to face difficulties under the new plan.
TEPCO’s current rehabilitation plan, adopted in January 2014, has reached a dead end, with no prospects for a restart of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, which the company viewed as a key step for improving profitability.
TEPCO needs to secure as much as 21.5 trillion yen for its response to the triple meltdown at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, including compensation for affected people and businesses and work to decommission the disaster-stricken reactors at the plant.
In the circumstances, the government plans to keep the company effectively under state control for the time being. Its involvement with TEPCO will be reviewed in the fiscal year that begins in April 2019.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Govt. and TEPCO Found Liable by Court for Fukushima Disaster

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People pray for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami near Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Japan govt & Tokyo power firm liable for ‘preventable’ Fukushima meltdown – court

Negligence by the government and Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) contributed to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, a court in Japan has ruled, saying the catastrophe could have been avoided, and marking the first time the state has been held liable.

The district court in Maebashi, north of Tokyo, said the government and plant operator were to blame for failing to prepare anti-tsunami measures.

The judge awarded a total of 38.55 million yen (US$340,000) in damages to some 62 plaintiffs who evacuated to Gunma Prefecture after the disaster began to loom large at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported

A group of 137 plaintiffs had argued the authorities and TEPCO failed to prevent the triple meltdown at the plant, and demanded 11 million yen ($97,108) each in compensation, the newspaper said, adding that the court accepted most of the arguments about the dramatic lack of anti-tsunami measures.

The plaintiffs highlighted the fact that in May 2008, three years before the disaster, plant operator TEPCO received an estimate of a tsunami as high as 15.7 meters that could hit the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Asahi Shimbun reported. That apocalyptic forecast came true, with a wave around that height hitting the nuclear power plant in 2011, triggering the reactor meltdowns. A huge tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes.

If the utility had installed emergency diesel electric generators on higher ground, the measure could have prevented the nuclear disaster, the court ruled on Friday.

Citing a government estimate released in July 2002, the court said that “TEPCO was capable of foreseeing several months after (the estimate) that a large tsunami posed a risk to the facility and could possibly flood its premises and damage safety equipment, such as the backup power generators,” the Japan Times reported

Meanwhile, in its long-term estimate, unveiled in 2002, the government said that the probability of an earthquake striking in the Japan Trench off the coast of northeastern Japan, including the sea area off the Fukushima No. 1 plant, was “about 20 percent within 30 years,” the Asahi Shimbun paper said

The lawyers for the plaintiffs welcomed the Friday court ruling, saying “It was extremely significant that (a court) has acknowledged the responsibility of the state,” Kyodo news agency reported

Around 30 similar suits have been filed in at least 20 district courts across Japan, lawyers said.

However, Takehiro Matsuta, one of the plaintiffs who evacuated from the city of Koriyama in central Fukushima Prefecture, called the damages “disappointing.” His child, who was three years old at the time of the nuclear disaster, received no compensation whatsoever.

My wife and I are struggling every day, but it’s my child who suffers the most,” the 38-year-old father said, as cited by the Japan Times. 

The ruling was one big step for my family, for those who evacuated from Fukushima to Gunma, and for tens of thousands of earthquake victims nationwide,” he said.

Both the government and TEPCO argued that the long-term estimate and the May 2008 tsunami study were not credible enough, continuing to insist that the massive tsunami was unexpected.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, told a press conference on Friday that the officials “will consider how to respond after carefully examining the ruling.”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and a killer tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes. Three of the plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

https://www.rt.com/news/381154-tepco-government-liable-fukushima/

 

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Supporters of plaintiffs seeking compensation for Fukushima evacuees unfurl banners in front of the Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture announcing the court’s decision Friday.


In first, government and Tepco found liable for Fukushima disaster

Maebashi, Gunma Pref. – A court in Japan has ruled for the first time that the government and the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were responsible for failing to take preventive measures against the March 11, 2011, quake-triggered tsunami that killed scores and forced tens of thousands from their homes.

Friday’s stunning ruling by the Maebashi District Court was the first to recognize negligence by the state and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. It called the massive tsunami predictable and said the major nuclear disaster could have been avoided.

The district court ordered the two to pay damages totaling ¥38.55 million to 62 of 137 plaintiffs from 45 households located near the plant, which suffered a triple meltdown caused by the tsunami, awarding ¥70,000 to ¥3.5 million in compensation to each plaintiff.

The plaintiffs had demanded the state and Tepco pay compensation of ¥11 million each — a total of about ¥1.5 billion — over the loss of local infrastructure and psychological stress they were subjected to after being forced to relocate to unfamiliar surroundings.

Citing a government estimate released in July 2002, the court said in the ruling that “Tepco was capable of foreseeing several months after (the estimate) that a large tsunami posed a risk to the facility and could possibly flood its premises and damage safety equipment, such as the backup power generators.”

It pointed out that the state should have ordered Tepco to take bolstered preventive measures, and criticized the utility for prioritizing costs over safety.

Of the plaintiffs, 76 who lived in evacuation zones were forced to move, while another 61 evacuated voluntarily even though their houses were located outside evacuation zones. The ruling was the first of 30 similar class-action suits filed nationwide involving more than 10,000 plaintiffs.

About 80,000 citizens who had lived in Fukushima reportedly left the prefecture after the March 2011 disaster.

I believe that the ruling saying both the government and Tepco were equally responsible is an important judgment,” Katsuyoshi Suzuki, the lead lawyer for the defense said at a news conference following the ruling. “But thinking about the psychological distress (the plaintiffs faced) after being forced to evacuate from their homes, I think the amount is not enough.”

Takehiro Matsuta, 38, one of the plaintiffs who evacuated from the city of Koriyama, hailed the ruling, but called the damages “disappointing.”

The ruling was one big step for my family, for those who evacuated from Fukushima to Gunma, and for tens of thousands of earthquake victims nationwide,” he said.

But called the payout “disappointing,” as his child, who was 3 years old at the time of the nuclear disaster, was not granted compensation. “My wife and I are struggling everyday, but it’s my child who suffers the most.”

The group of lawyers for the plaintiffs, which have had suits filed since September 2011, claimed that the Fukushima disaster resulted in serious human rights violations by forcing victims to relocate after the crisis caused widespread environmental damage.

The plaintiffs argued that Tepco could have prevented the damage if it had implemented measures, including the building of breakwaters, based on its 2008 tsunami trial calculation that showed waves of over 10 meters could hit the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Those calculations took into account the 2002 estimate by the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion, which concluded that there was a 20 percent chance of a magnitude-8 earthquake rocking areas off Fukushima within 30 years.

However, the government and Tepco have argued that the massive tsunami was unexpected, claiming that there were different opinions among scholars over the long-term evaluation. Both attacked the credibility of the study, calling it unscientific.

The government also objected to the ruling, saying that because it had no authority to force Tepco to take such preventive measures as argued by the plaintiffs, it bore no responsibility.

According to the defense, a number of other class suits are inching closer to rulings, with one in the city of Chiba scheduled for Sept. 22 and another in the city of Fukushima involving 4,000 plaintiffs expected by the year’s end.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/17/national/crime-legal/first-government-tepco-found-liable-fukushima-disaster/#.WMwqEqKmnIV

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

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

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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

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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

SIX YEARS AFTER: TEPCO’s ‘casino in desert’ looms in evacuated Fukushima town

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The lights of 750 housing units for Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees shine in the foreground in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, as the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant glimmers in the back.

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–As Kazutoshi Mabuchi drove down a mountain road here in the darkness, carefully avoiding a wild boar crossing his path, a cluster of orange-lit housing units suddenly came into view under the night sky.

These dwellings accommodate about 750 employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which Okuma co-hosts.

It looks like a casino that popped up in the desert out of nowhere,” said Mabuchi, 71, as he patrolled the town.

Mabuchi could see a cafeteria where some TEPCO employees were dining while watching TV.

All 11,000 residents of Okuma were forced to evacuate after the nuclear disaster unfolded at the plant, triggered by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The town has been almost entirely empty since, with 96 percent of it designated as a “difficult-to-return zone” due to the high radiation levels. That means it is unknown if and when the evacuees will ever be able to return to their former homes to live. Barricades are put up on the roads as well as in front of the houses in the zone to prevent entry.

The TEPCO housing units are located in Okuma’s Ogawara district, which is excluded from the difficult-to-return zone. Classified as a restricted residence area due to relatively lower doses of radiation compared with most parts of the town, evacuees can visit Ogawara freely, but they cannot stay overnight.

Mabuchi is from Ogawara, and he, like all the other 360 people in the district, is still evacuated.

He drives four and a half hours each week to Okuma from Chiba Prefecture, where he moved to live with his daughter’s family after the triple meltdown. He and two others work on a shift to patrol Okuma for three days, a task commissioned by the town government since the autumn of 2012.

Local officials hope to get the residence restriction designation for Osuma lifted by March 2019 by carrying out extensive decontamination operations there.

But it remains unclear whether evacuees will return even if the area’s radiation readings drop enough to allow it to be habitable again.

A survey by the town shows that only one in three former residents is willing to return. The damaged roofs of the houses in the district remain covered with plastic sheets. Rice paddies and fields are strewn with numerous traces of holes dug up by wild boars.

Construction of the TEPCO housing units in Ogawara began in October 2015. The government granted a permit to the utility as a special case, saying the company is the “essential party in leading the recovery and rebuilding efforts” in Fukushima Prefecture.

The 750 single-person units were all occupied by the end of 2016 after TEPCO workers began moving in to them last July.

The utility says in its literature that the company “expects its employees residing there to contribute to rebuilding the town and reassurance of the people.”

In addition to our objective of grappling with the decommissioning process squarely, we wanted to make visible our determination to help the rebuilding of local communities,” said Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, head of the company’s Fukushima Revitalization Headquarters, about the housing project.

Many of the employees are shuttled by bus between the sprawling nuclear complex and their units, wearing the same uniform and eating the same food.

It is like we are on a conveyer belt, and our houses are part of the plant,” said one of the employees living there, referring to the absence of signs of a normal life, such as children playing on the ground and parents hurrying back home from their workplace.

There were more than 10 TEPCO dorms along the coastal area of Fukushima Prefecture before the nuclear disaster, which struck 40 years after the plant’s first reactor went online.

Locals affectionately called the occupants of the dorms “Toden-san” (TEPCO-san) before the accident. TEPCO employees were active participants in local events, such as cleanup efforts on holidays, sports meets and festivals, to fit in with their host communities.

With the nuclear accident, however, that community life completely disappeared.

I am not going to return to Ogawara to live,” Mabuchi said while taking a break from the patrol.

He had his house razed in January. But he has carried on with the patrol for his neighbors’ sake.

I am hoping that the town will continue to exist just for the people who want to go back home,” he said.

As the sky clouded over, the only lights visible in the dark came from the lights in the TEPCO lodgings.

This is no longer Ogawara,” he said, and slid into his car.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703100075.html

March 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

2 TEPCO affiliates get tax exemption approval under disaster aid system

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Two Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) affiliates received Fukushima gubernatorial approval for tax breaks designed to help local businesses affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has been learned.

The firms applied for the local tax exemptions with the Fukushima Prefectural Government. Under the disaster relief tax break system, the amounts exempted are covered by the reconstruction budget. However, in the case of the TEPCO affiliates, it means reconstruction funds will flow to firms associated with the very company that caused the nuclear disaster.

“It is wrong to give them (the TEPCO affiliates) preferential treatment from the standpoint of public sentiment,” one critic said.

The two companies are Kandenko Co., an engineering and construction company based in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, and Chuo Ward-based Tokyo Energy & Systems Inc., which does maintenance and other work. Both firms have been engaged in projects to decommission the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

As of March 2016, TEPCO was the biggest shareholder in both firms, with a 46 percent stake in Kandenko and a 24 percent stake in Tokyo Energy & Systems. Six of Kandenko’s board members are from TEPCO, while five TEPCO officials were transferred to Tokyo Energy & Systems to become board members. Furthermore, one executive doubles as a board member at both TEPCO and Tokyo Energy & Systems.

The tax-exempt system is based on the Act on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima enacted in the wake of the nuclear disaster. The law covers corporations and sole proprietors that had business offices in areas subject to the post-meltdown evacuation orders. Because a small number of local residents are expected to return to their hometowns near the nuclear plant, the system is aimed at attracting people to these municipalities by promoting business activity, including decommissioning work, and securing jobs for them.

Kandenko and Tokyo Energy & Systems both have offices in the region covered by the system. If they make fresh capital investments and apply with the Fukushima Prefectural Government for tax exemptions within five years from the time when evacuation orders were lifted, they will receive a partial corporate enterprise tax exemption, and a 100 percent real estate acquisition tax exemption. Both taxes are prefectural, and exempted amounts are covered by subsidies based on the special tax allocation system for disaster reconstruction funded by a dedicated tax, among other means.

According to a Fukushima Prefectural Government tax affairs department official, 436 corporations and individuals have received written approval for the program, 178 of which have been exempted from paying prefectural taxes totaling 345 million yen. The tax affairs department admitted to issuing approvals to the two TEPCO affiliates, adding, “If applications meet conditions, even TEPCO affiliates are not excluded from access to the system.”

A Kandenko spokesperson told the Mainichi Shimbun, “We went through confirmation procedures in line with the intent of the act on special measures. As of this moment, we have received no exemption.” Tokyo Energy & Systems built a branch office in an evacuation zone in 2016. Asked whether the company has been granted tax exemptions, a spokesperson said, “We will refrain from replying.” A TEPCO spokesperson said, “We are not in a position to comment.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170307/p2a/00m/0na/009000c

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO blunders raise doubts on ability as nuke plant operator

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Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, center, is briefed by the chief of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in the No. 6 reactor building in February, while TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, right, looks on.

 

Recent revelations concerning Tokyo Electric Power Co. raised fundamental doubts about whether the utility has done sufficient soul-searching over the accident at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011.

The revelations concern the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, where the company is seeking to restart the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors as soon as possible. In one instance, a key facility has been found to be lacking an adequate level of earthquake resistance.

TEPCO’s latest blunders emerged during the final stages of the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening of the two reactors, based on stricter safety standards introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The NRA summoned TEPCO President Naomi Hirose. It should come as no surprise that the NRA’s chairman, Shunichi Tanaka, instructed Hirose to re-submit documents in the application for the restarts after ensuring their accuracy as a matter of his responsibility.

The new standards are nothing but the NRA’s minimum requirements for safe reactor operations.

Utilities have the primary responsibility for keeping track of the latest scientific knowledge and improving the safety of nuclear power plants.

A company that fails to pay appropriate attention to developments it finds inconvenient or cannot make swift decisions when faced with such a situation is not qualified to operate a nuclear reactor.

The NRA summoned Hirose over the earthquake resistance of a key building that is designed to serve as an on-site emergency response headquarters at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in the event of a severe accident.

TEPCO had said the building could withstand an earthquake with a maximum intensity of seven on the Japanese seismic scale. In the process of the NRA’s screening, however, the company acknowledged that it may not be able to withstand even half of the assumed strongest seismic shaking.

TEPCO said it learned about the inadequate level of earthquake resistance in 2014. The utility said the information was not shared within the company due to poor communications among different divisions. But that explanation should not be allowed to let it off the hook.

TEPCO also failed to disclose until recently other pieces of information about the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, such as the possibility that an earthquake could cause liquefaction of the ground under a seawall built to protect the plant from tsunami.

NRA officials have criticized TEPCO for its reluctance to disclose problems in a straightforward manner.

Local governments around the plant are similarly aghast.

Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, who has been cautious about endorsing TEPCO’s plan to restart the reactors, has stated that he does not trust the utility.

TEPCO also appears to be losing the trust of Kashiwazaki Mayor Masahiro Sakurai, who had shown some understanding to the idea of restarts. He said anxiety about TEPCO’s nature has “heightened” due to the latest revelations, combined with the disclosure last year that the company tried to cover up the core meltdowns at the Fukushima plant.

There is now the possibility that I may not give my consent” to the restarts, he said.

The 2007 Chuetsu offshore earthquake destroyed an administrative building at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

Learning lessons from the disaster, TEPCO started constructing base-isolated buildings designed to serve as on-site emergency response headquarters at its nuclear power plants.

During the 2011 nuclear disaster, such a building at the Fukushima No. 1 plant was used as the on-site command post.

But the NRA’s screenings of reactors operated by other utilities had revealed that there are cases where buildings constructed with base isolation technology do not meet the new safety standards.

Critics say TEPCO is not eager to incorporate new findings.

It has been repeatedly pointed out that TEPCO first needs to thoroughly reform its organization and corporate culture, among other aspects.

We feel compelled to state again that the company must confront its problems.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703040025.html

March 4, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Govt. to keep control over TEPCO for longer period

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The Japanese government has decided to maintain control over the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for an extended period.

Officials made the decision due to rising costs from the recovery of the 2011 nuclear accident.

The government acquired a 50.1 percent stake in Tokyo Electric Power Company through a state-backed bailout fund after the accident. This put the utility under effective state control.

Under the current plan, the government was to gradually reduce its control after April by selling TEPCO stocks in phases, while monitoring the company’s management.

But the government estimates that it will cost a total of about 188 billion dollars to clean up the soil, pay compensation, and decommission reactors. That’s about twice as much as an earlier estimate.

The extension of state control over TEPCO means that the government has to give up the current plan to cover the clean-up cost of about 35 billion dollars by selling the utility’s shares.

The government is now considering listing a joint venture set up by TEPCO, and Chubu Electric Power Company, and selling its stocks. It is also looking into selling some shares of a TEPCO group company that operates a power transmission business.

The government intends to include these financial alternatives in the utility’s business plan which will be renewed for the first time in 3 years in spring.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170302_09/

March 2, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

The hidden costs households must pay for nuclear disaster in 2011

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There’s more to monthly electricity charges than meets the eye. For one thing, there’s a hidden cost.

This is charged to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. and other utilities meet costs for damages arising from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Annual amounts range from an estimated 587 yen ($5.25) to 1,484 yen, and although paltry, may raise eyebrows as the utilities offer no breakdown in their monthly charges.

The utilities are obliged by the government to pitch in on grounds that a kitty is needed in case of future nuclear accidents. But in reality, the money is being swallowed up to help TEPCO pay compensation.

Of the 7.9 trillion yen in estimated compensation costs for the triple meltdown at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011, as calculated by the government, 5.5 trillion yen is being borne by the company and six other utilities across the nation as “general contribution” costs.

The other utilities are those based in Hokkaido; the Tohoku region; the Chubu region; the Kansai region; Shikoku; and Kyushu.

The amount of compensation each utility bears depends on the overall capacity of the nuclear power plants they operate, and other factors.

The Asahi Shimbun estimated that these general contributions, which are included in regular household electricity bills, range between 0.11 yen and 0.26 yen per kilowatt-hour, depending on the utility. These figures were then multiplied with the average amount of annual household electricity consumption, as based on a national survey, to ascertain how much each household was paying into the compensation program in a given year.

Households supplied by Shikoku Electric Power Co. bear the heaviest annual burden at 1,484 yen. They were followed by residents supplied by Kansai Electric Power Co. at 1,212 yen and TEPCO at 1,159 yen. Users of Kyushu Electric Power Co. pay 1,127 yen per household, while those using Hokkaido Electric Power Co. pay 1,034 yen. The smallest amounts were charged by Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co., at 774 yen and 587 yen per household, respectively.

The majority of household residents may be unaware of the hidden fee, or at least how much is being charged, as electricity bills basically just state the amount to be paid each month by a given date.

Utilities generally calculate electricity rates via what is known as the fully-distributed cost method, which means that all expenses necessary in generating and delivering power to households are implemented in the price.

Household electricity payments proved to be a direct source of funding for Fukushima compensation payouts when expenses toward the general contribution program were included in basic cost for calculating electricity rates after the seven utilities increased their charges in fiscal 2012-2014.

The Asahi Shimbun calculated annual general contributions paid by households by figuring out how much of the overall generation cost of utilities was covered by regular households. In the case of TEPCO, ordinary households were responsible for paying 26.9 billion yen, or 47.25 percent of the overall 56.74 billion yen.

Dividing this figure by the estimated amount of electricity that will be consumed by these households in a year reveals how much it costs to generate 1 kWh of electricity.

Representatives of the Kansai and Chubu utilities told The Asahi Shimbun that they make estimates on how much it costs to do this.

Applying the approach used by the two companies, The Asahi Shimbun estimated the costs for the five remaining utilities, all of which confirmed that the methodology was correct.

In the case with TEPCO, the cost was 0.25 yen, after the 26.9 billion yen that households paid was divided by 105.7 billion kWh.

The figure was then multiplied by the amount of electricity annually used by each household with two or more people, information that was obtained through the government’s household financial survey. With Tokyo residents consuming an average of 4,568 kWh in 2016, the amount of compensation paid by each household supplied by TEPCO was calculated to be 1,159 yen.

Hokuriku Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co. are also paying for the general contributions, meaning that all nine utilities in mainland Japan are participating in the compensation effort. However, the two companies have neither raised their rates following the nuclear crisis nor included compensation costs in their monthly bills to households.

Utilities will soon be scrambling to find more money, as the government plans to include an additional 2.4 trillion yen worth of compensation costs in fees to use power lines starting in 2020.

The government estimates expenses in dealing with the aftermath of the nuclear disaster six years ago, which include compensation, as well as costs to decommission reactors and decontaminate vast areas of land, at 21.5 trillion yen. These costs will be covered not only by TEPCO, which had paid a “special contribution” fee of up to 180 billion yen by the end of fiscal 2015, but taxes as well.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702270056.html

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco to issue $612 million bond in first bond sale since Fukushima

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Visitors look at the logo of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) at the Energy Market Liberalisation Expo in Tokyo, Japan March 2, 2016

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) submitted plans on Wednesday to sell a total of 70 billion yen ($612 million) of bonds, its first sale since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tepco unit, Tepco Power Grid Inc, which is in charge of power transmission and distribution, said in a filing with the Kanto Local Finance Bureau it will sell a 30 billion yen three-year bond and a 40 billion yen five-year bond. The coupon will be set between March 3 and 17.

The sale will mark the return of the company to Japan’s corporate bond market, which it dominated before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, bringing Tepco to its knees.

The utility, once Asia’s largest, was essentially nationalized after Fukushima. It currently faces billions of dollars in costs to dismantle the crippled Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, decontaminate the area and compensate victims after the meltdown of three reactors.

Tepco, which has 650 billion yen worth of bonds maturing in the year ending March 2018, wants to restart regular bond issuance to ensure stable refinancing. It said the planned issue was to pay for “equipment, pay back debt and bond redemption.”

Investors, who were initially skeptical about the bond issuance plan, have become more comfortable with the utility’s outlook after the government last year provided more details on decommissioning and compensation costs.

The government owns 50.1 percent of the company following its bailout, seen by some investors as an implicit state guarantee for the company.

Six firms have been hired to manage the sale: SMBC Nikko Securities, a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group; Nomura Securities; Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc; Mizuho Securities, a unit of Mizuho Financial Group Inc; Daiwa Securities; and Shinkin Securities, a unit of Shinkin Central Bank.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tepco-bonds-sale-idUSKBN15U06Z

February 16, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Crisis Management Center

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By Pierre Fetet, translation Hervé Courtois

Difficult to be innovative on the subject of Fukushima. Would we have already said everything for the last six years that the catastrophe is going on?

Well, no, with the film of Linda Bendali, “From Paris to Fukushima, the secrets of a catastrophe”, the subject of the attitude of nuclear France in March 2011 had never been approached from this angle: while Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan faced with nuclear fire became anti-nuclear, the Fillon government launched the heavy artillery to counter any vehemence of debate on this subject in France.

For the french Minister of Industry, Eric Besson, it was an just incident. Nicolas Sarkozy invited himself to Japan while he was not expected, to promote nuclear in the midst of the atomic crisis. And France pretended to help Japan by sending unusable or outdated products.

Therefore a good documentary pointing both Japanese and French dysfunctions that we can see in replay here again a few days. http://pluzz.francetv.fr/videos/cellule_de_crise_,153344813.html

And a good synthesis by Arnaud Vaulerin there. http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2017/02/12/fukushima-la-bataille-de-la-france-au-nom-de-l-atome_1547304

That said, this report has awakened in me an old anger, never really extinct since 1986, and you will not escape the comments that inspires me this report.

Pierre Fetet

The lies of Tepco

At the beginning of the documentary, Tepco, champion of the lie and the unspoken is expressed by the voice of his spokesman Yuichi Okamura: “We never imagined that such an accident could happen. From the statistics, we calculated that the tsunami should not exceed 5 meters. Our forecasts were exceeded. “

He is then contradicted by the film director. I very much thank Linda Bendali for insisting that the report of the parliamentary inquiry commission on Fukushima gave as first conclusion that the Fukushima disaster was of human origin. Because few people understand the sequence of events and it is too often heard that “the Fukushima disaster was caused by the tsunami”.

Now, the real logical chain of events was this:

1) Irresponsibility: Tepco decides to build a nuclear power plant at sea level.

2) Stupidity: While seven tsunamis of 12 to 28 meters in height took place in Japan in the twentieth century, they decided to construct a protective dike of 5 m.

3) Corruption: Japan Nuclear Safety Organizations accept the construction project.

4) A natural event: a 15 m tsunami falls on the east coast of Honshu, and therefore on the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

The IRSN is advertising its own self

The IRSN is always taken as an example and looks after its image. Normal, it is the official reference body. Yet I have already taken this institute several times in flagrante delicto of lie: Assurance that the evacuees would return within three months in 2011, http://fukushima.over-blog.fr/article-le-nouveau-pellerin-est-arrive-71748502.html

Assurance that there was no discharge of strontium and plutonium into Japan, http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/05/pourquoi-l-irsn-ment.html

Assurance that a nuclear power plant cannot explode in France … http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/05/pourquoi-l-irsn-ment.html

Thierry Charles even recently claimed to know where the corium is, even though Tepco itself does not know … http://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/2017/02/10/01008-20170210ARTFIG00213–fukushima-tepco-evalue-peu-a-peu-l-ampleur-des-degats.php

In the documentary, the narrator assures that “IRSN is the first organization in the world to announce that the molten core has escaped from its confinement”. Indeed, listening to Jacques Repussard we get the impression that his institute communicated on this subject in March 2011.

However, six months after the catastrophe began, the IRSN still was writing: “It remains unclear whether molten fuel could be relocated to the bottom of the enclosure and in what quantity. “ (Communiqué of 25 August 2011) http://www.irsn.fr/FR/connaissances/Installations_nucleaires/Les-accidents-nucleaires/accident-fukushima-2011/crise-2011/impact-japon/Documents/IRSN_Seisme-Japon_25082011.pdf

Yet the Japanese government had already received a report from the IAEA on June 7 recognizing the possibility of perforations in the tanks of reactors 1 to 3 …

No seriously. The first organization that announced the me of the three cores is Tepco, on 24 May 2011. And the IRSN announced it the next day. Previously, IRSN never wrote anything else, for reactors 1, 2 and 3, that “The injection of fresh water continues. The flow rate of the water injection is adjusted in order to ensure the cooling of the core, which remains partially depleted. “

http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_presse/Actualites/Documents/IRSN_Seisme-Japon_Point-situation-29032011-12h.pdf

In 2011, the first person who dared to break the omerta of the nuclear lobby is Mishio Ishikawa, founder of Japan Nuclear Technology Institute (JANTI): During a Japanese TV show on April 29, 2011, he stated that the hearts of Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1, 2 and 3 were 100% melted. http://www.fukushima-blog.com/article-les-coeurs-des-reacteurs-1-2-et-3-de-fukushima-dai-ichi-auraient-fondu-a-100-73003947.html

That’s the story, that’s how it happened. IRSN never said that before anyone. The IRSN respected the omerta on the total meltdown of the three hearts like all the actors of the nuclear world and obediently waited for Tepco to announce the reality to acquiesce, no matter what Jacques Repussard is saying now six years later.

The Naoto Kan myth

The image of the then Prime Minister of Japan is to be nuanced. After seeing the documentary, it seems as though Naoto Kan acted as hero. It must also be admitted that he made several errors:

– Naoto Kan went to the Fukushima Daiichi plant in full crisis and greatly disturbed the ongoing management of the ongoing crisis. Director Masao Yoshida was asked to explain and explain what he was doing, wasting precious time on those who tried to solve problems one by one (It was just before the explosions of No. 2 and No. 4!). The documentary suggests that Masao Yoshida was going to leave the nuclear plant with all the workers, and that through Kan’s intervention they were forced to stay. It’s not true. Tepco may have intended to leave the ship, but the plant’s director denied any plan to abandon the site.

– The documentary shows Naoto Kan kneeling before Nicolas Sarkozy. Politeness or industrial pressures? It is not known why he did not dare to counter the French nuclear VRP.

– Naoto Kan will remain for all inhabitants of evacuated areas the one who decided to raise the standard from 1 to 20 mSv / year. On the one hand, he was ready to evacuate Tokyo, but on the other he made a whole region irradiated with a very high radiation rate. Something is bizarre in these contradictory attitudes.

The ghost of Chernobyl

Pierre Pellerin, even disappeared, is still doing damages … Between the two parts of the documentary, Frédéric Boisset, editor-in-chief of Brainworks Press, presents the story of Chernobyl in this way: “In 1986, the radioactive cloud spread throughout Europe. The authorities do not have the technical means to measure the fallout, to give instructions to the French. Can we eat fruit and vegetables? Should we caulk indoors? It was to avoid this type of failure that this institute was created [the IRSN]. “

But this is not an interview taken on the spot, it is a carefully prepared text before the recording. Frédéric Boisset therefore pretends without blushing that the SCPRI of 1986, the ancestor of the IRSN, did not have the means to alert the French of the dangers of radioactivity! What an enormity! In Germany, they had the means to prohibit the sale of spinach and salads, to confine the students inside but not in France. Frédéric Boisset refeeds us the story of the Chernobyl radioactive plume that stops at the border? It is unbelievable that still in 2017 a journalist perpetuates the disinformation lie that began in 1986.

However, the IRSN, worthy successor of SCPRI, made this statement on March 15, 2011, the day when the radioactive cloud of Fukushima arrived in Tokyo: “A slight increase in ambient radioactivity in Tokyo is noted by a few measures. This elevation is not significant in terms of radiological impact. “ Pierre Pellerin would not have said better! At the same time, Olivier Isnard, an IRSN expert sent to Tokyo, advocated caulking the premises of the French embassy. Fortunately, Philippe Faure, the French ambassador to Japan, communicated to his expatriates at 10 am: “Stay in your houses, making sure to caulk them to the maximum, this effectively protects against the low-intensity radioactive elements that could pass through Tokyo. ” But at 8 pm, he changed his tone and resumed the official speech dictated by the IRSN: “The situation remains at this time quite safe in Tokyo. A very slight increase in radioactivity was recorded. It represents no danger for human health. “ 100 Bq / m3 would pose no health hazard for a radioactive cloud coming directly from a nuclear reactor? I am feeling not any more safe than in 1986 unfortunately.

The taboo of the steam explosion

One last deception. The IRSN has purposedly mistranslated the words of Masao Yoshida, director of the Fukushima Daiichi power station. Immediately after the explosion of Unit 3, the latter, distraught, called the headquarters to inform them of the situation. Tepco released this recording and the IRSN broadcasted it in a video in 2013. I do not know Japanese but I have Japanese friends who have assured me of the translation of his words. I give you both versions, that of my friends and that of the IRSN. The people knowing japanese will be able to check for themselves.

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The Japanese TV version : https://youtu.be/OWCLXjEdwJM

The IRNS version : https://youtu.be/tjEHCGUx9JQ

 

The documentary gives another version: “HQ, HQ, it’s terrible! This is very serious ! “Yes, here HQ.” “It seems there was an explosion on reactor 3, which looks like a hydrogen explosion.” Who recommended this text to journalists? Even though Yoshida himself said “suijôki” (steam) and not “suiso” (hydrogen). The IRSN’s translation therefore censures the hypothesis put forward by the director of the nuclear plant: the steam explosion. This is normal, it is the official version of the Japanese government and the IRSN can not go against it.

The steam explosion is a taboo issue among nuclear communicators. Experts talk about it to each other, carry out studies about it, write theses about it, but never talk about it to the public because the subject of a nuclear power plant explosion is too anxiogenic. If we ever learned that a steam explosion had arrived in Fukushima, it would undermine the image of nuclear power worldwide.

http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2014/09/unite-3-de-fukushima-la-theorie-de-l-explosion-de-vapeur.html

In France, the political-industrial lobby has axed its communication on the control of hydrogen: All French power plants have hydrogen recombiners to avoid hydrogen explosions. But against an steam explosion, nothing can be done. When the containment vessel is full of water and the corium at 3000 ° C falls in it, it’s boom, whether in Japan or in France, whether it be a boiling water reactor or a pressurized water reactor.

http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2015/08/l-explosion-de-l-unite-3-de-fukushima-daiichi-1.html

Source : http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2017/02/cellule-de-crise-a-fukushima.html#ob-comment-ob-comment-9004010

 

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

New gov’t bill would make TEPCO reserve funds for Fukushima plant decommissioning

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The government on Feb. 7 submitted a legal revision bill to the Diet to stabilize funding for the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The subject of the revisions is the law establishing the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF), which manages the flow of funds to nuclear accident victims and the long process of dismantling the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The revisions will require plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to set aside funds secured through corporate restructuring with the NDF. The revisions will also give the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry the right to perform spot inspections of TEPCO offices to make sure the utility is making appropriate deposits.

Furthermore, the revision bill states that TEPCO must submit a reactor decommissioning plan and a financing scheme to fund that plan to the industry ministry every fiscal year. The NDF and the industry ministry will examine the utility’s decommissioning project structure, and judge if it is being properly implemented.

The government is looking to have the revisions enter force within the year, with TEPCO capital transfers to the NDF to commence as early as next fiscal year, which starts on April 1, 2017.

Last year, the industry ministry increased the total estimated cost for Fukushima No. 1 plant decommissioning from 2 trillion yen to 8 trillion yen, in preparation for the difficult work of removing the melted fuel from three of the power station’s reactors.

TEPCO’s annual revenues currently stand at about 400 billion yen, while reactor decommissioning alone is expected to cost some 300 billion yen per year. Nevertheless, the industry ministry believes the utility should be able to cover its obligations if it can improve its earning power through management restructuring and the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture.

However, the governor of Niigata Prefecture has been reluctant to green-light the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors, and there is no projected schedule to bring the plant back on line. In addition, it is possible that the cost of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant reactors will continue to swell.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170208/p2a/00m/0na/007000c

February 9, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Cameco to lose $1.3bn as Japan’s TEPCO cancels uranium contract

The writing is on the wall. Ban uranium mining now: “Tepco’s termination of the contract would affect about 9.3 million pounds of uranium deliveries through 2028, worth about $1.3 billion in revenue.”

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Cigar Lake, in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, is the world’s highest-grade uranium mine.

Uranium miner Cameco (TSX:CCO; NYSE:CCJ) is weighing its options after a key Japanese customer attempted to cancel its contract, which would mean $1.3 billion in lost revenue for the Canadian company.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, issued a termination notice for a uranium supply contract on Jan. 24 and, earlier this week, it said it would not accept a delivery that was scheduled for Feb.1.

Such contract cancellation would affect about 9.3 million pounds of uranium deliveries through 2028, including about 855,000 pounds annually in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Cameco said.

Shares collapsed on the news. They were trading down 12.5% to Cdn$14.50 in Toronto at 1:00 pm, and 13.3% down in New York to $11.06 at 1:26 pm ET.

Cameco said the Japanese power company has cited forces beyond its control — specifically government regulations arising from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident — that have prevented the operation of its nuclear plants.

The Canadian firm insisted that there’s no basis for terminating the contract and considers TEPCO to be in default. It said it will pursue its rights — including binding arbitration.

We are surprised and disappointed that TEPCO is seeking to terminate its contract given all the past productive discussions we have had to date,” Cameco’s president and CEO Tim Gitzel said in the statement.

The company noted it has sufficient financial capacity to manage any loss of revenue in 2017 as a result of the dispute.

Including income coming from TEPCO, Cameco expects 2017 earnings will range between $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion. More information on the uranium miner’s financial position will be released next week.

http://www.mining.com/cameco-to-lose-1-3bn-as-japans-tepco-cancels-uranium-contract/

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | 1 Comment