J-Power may resume building nuke plant

Utility hopes to restart work at Aomori facility

Kyodo

J-Power plans to resume construction of its nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture this year, sources close to the matter said Friday, which would make it the first utility to do so since the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The plan by the company otherwise known as Electric Power Development Co. is consistent with government policy but will be controversial.

Under the new national energy strategy the Cabinet weakened earlier this month, a nuclear power phaseout is to be pursued and new reactors are not to be built.

But trade minister Yukio Edano said that incomplete nuclear plants that were already under construction at the time of the Fukushima disaster would not be categorized as new.

The sources said that J-Power officials will visit Aomori on Monday to discuss the issue. The plant is being built in the city of Oma.

The move is certain to stir controversy among local and prefectural governments, and Hokkaido leaders have called for work on the facility to be suspended.

J-Power started building the plant, which is to have an advanced boiling water reactor, in May 2008 with the goal of bringing it online by November 2014.

The work, about 40 percent completed, was suspended because of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The utility does not need government permission to resume construction.

The Oma complex and two other reactors elsewhere in Japan were approved for construction by the government before the Fukushima crisis started in March 2011.

Tepco cashes in assets

Jiji

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it will sell one of its building in central Tokyo and a majority stake in data center unit At Tokyo Corp. for a total of ¥58.3 billion.

Tepco expects to reap a profit of some ¥46.3 billion, which has already been reflected in its group earnings estimates for the business year ending next March, the utility said Thursday.

The asset sales are part of Tepco’s efforts to rebuild its finances and generate funds to cover its massive compensation payments over the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The Tokyo building and its site in the Shinbashi district of Minato Ward will be sold for ¥25 billion by the end of March 2013. The company did not identify the buyer.

Tepco will sell a 50.9 percent stake in At Tokyo to major security service firm Secom Co. for ¥33.3 billion at the end of October. After the share sale, Tepco’s stake will fall to 33.3 percent.