Utility to place no advance limits on compensation

Tepco to accept aid with strings attached

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. decided Wednesday to accept the government’s conditions for helping it compensate victims of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant crisis.

Tepco is expected to face trillions of yen in compensation demands.

The government’s conditions for aid include maximum cost-cutting efforts, not capping compensation payments in advance and allowing an investigation into its management to be conducted by a third-party panel set up by the government.

The government presented the conditions Tuesday evening after Tepco President Masataka Shimizu asked for help in making the enormous compensation payments for the radiation-related problems triggered by the March 11 mega-quake and tsunami earlier in the day.

To raise the funds, Tepco is planning to sell more than ¥500 billion worth of assets, sources said.

These could include its holdings in KDDI Corp., real estate and group companies, including some offshore, that are unrelated to its core operations.

Tepco is also considering freezing dividend payments on its common shares for five to 10 years to free up even more money.

Separately, Tepco will slash more than ¥350 billion in expenditures through such measures as pay cuts and reductions in promotional spending over the next two years.

The government is in the final stage of discussions before deciding on a support regimen to help the utility, and is considering establishing a special institution to deal with the damages payments in the event they exceed Tepco’s ability to make them.

The envisioned body would also be expected to function as an insurance entity for future nuclear accidents, and the government plans to seek financial contributions from all utilities with nuclear power stations.

Tepco is still working to bring the radiation-leaking Fukushima plant under control, after many of the reactors lost their cooling functions following the magnitude 9 quake and tsunami.

Tepco revising road map

STAFF REPORT

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s plan to achieve a cold shutdown of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is being revised, with a new version set to be revealed next week, Goshi Hosono, an aide to Prime Minister Naoto Kan who has been in charge of the disaster, said Wednesday.

“It’s been a month since the road map was disclosed. It’s being revised to clarify what has gone well and hasn’t,” Hosono told reporters at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.

Hosono said Tepco’s revised road map would be revealed on Tuesday.

Tepco, which unveiled the road map on April 17, had planned to reduce the crippled plant’s radiation emissions within three months and achieve a cold shutdown — in which the temperature of the water in the reactor core drops below 100 degrees — in six to nine months.

Hosono said the revised plan will clarify more specifically what roles the government and Tepco are to play in the crisis, adding that since much of the public has grown more knowledgeable about nuclear power plants since March, more details will be necessary to explain the new road map.

Experts were skeptical of the initial plan, saying that there were too many uncertainties that could prevent Tepco from achieving a cold shutdown in the six- to nine-month time frame provided.

Hosono also said that one key question is whether workers will be able to enter reactors 2 and 3 as easily as they did when they entered unit 1 on Monday.