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Japan Atomic Power saw fiscal 2012 growth despite no power output

Kyodo

Japan Atomic Power Co., operator of the idled Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, said Friday its group sales in the year that ended in March grew 4.3 percent from a year earlier to ¥152.43 billion, even though it failed to generate any electricity.

The company has not earned money from its electricity wholesale business because all three of its reactors remain offline in connection with the triple-meltdown calamity that started in 2011 at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant, but its “basic fees” from several regional utilities with contracts to get its electricity are supporting the firm’s survival.

The company’s financial results were released shortly after the Nuclear Regulation Authority acknowledged that reactor 2 at Japan Atomic Power’s Tsuruga plant sits above an active fault — a situation that forecloses on the unit’s ever being restarted.

Japan Atomic Power President Yasuo Hamada told reporters Friday that the fault is not active and denied that the firm intends to scrap reactor 2.

But speculation is rife that the NRA’s assessment on the fault will leave the company with no option but to decommission the reactor.

Restarting Japan Atomic Power’s two other reactors won’t be easy, with unit 1 at the Tsuruga plant known to be aging and a reactor at the Tokai No. 2 plant in Ibaraki Prefecture facing local opposition.

If the company ends up in a situation in which it cannot receive the basic fees, its survival could be threatened.

Hamada said the fees for fiscal 2013 from April will be around ¥120 billion, about 20 percent lower than what was paid in fiscal 2012.

According to the earnings results, Japan Atomic Power posted a group net loss of ¥508 million in fiscal 2012, remaining in the red for the second consecutive year.

The company also said that former Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata will step down as absentee director at Japan Atomic Power.

Katsumata, 73, has expressed his intention to resign, Hamada said, adding that he does not know the reason.

Katsumata stepped down as Tepco chairman last June, with his perceived lack of sincerity offending people affected by the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 2011 megaquake and tsunami.

He was also criticized for “golden-parachuting” to Tepco-affiliated Japan Atomic Power.