Utilities still paying village for planned reactors

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. are continuing to make payments to the municipal government in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, over plans to build additional nuclear reactors in a nearby village, the municipal office said Friday.

Rokkasho, located south of the village of Higashidori on the Pacific coast, received ¥133.4 million from Tepco for fiscal 2013 on Aug. 30 and ¥66.6 million from Tohoku Electric on Aug. 26, the office said.

Tepco, which has received government funding to deal with the radioactive water leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, says its payments to Rokkasho are not included in its costs for power generation, which form the basis for its electricity rates.

Tepco plans to build two reactors in Higashidori, while Tohoku Electric, which already has one reactor in the village, plans to build another. The two utilities began making payments to Rokkasho, itself home to nuclear fuel-recycling facilities, in fiscal 2010 to back the local fishing industry.

Rokkasho has used the funds to assist the purchase of squid-fishing vessels and gear, and improving fishing grounds. The village hopes the utilities will continue with the payments in line with a promise made before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, a municipal official said.

Tepco started to construct a 1.38 million kw reactor in Higashidori in January 2011, but work was suspended after the Fukushima crisis started. The utility plans to continue with construction and build an additional reactor there.

In 2005, Tohoku Electric began running its Higashidori plant with a 1.10 million kw reactor on land adjacent to Tepco’s and plans to build another reactor, but the existing reactor remains shut down along with all other reactors in Japan.