Tokyo Electric Power Co. expects to be able to restart two reactors at its idled seven-unit Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture next July and may mention the likelihood when updating its upcoming business turnaround plan, sources said Wednesday.
Under the existing restructuring plan compiled last year, Tepco projected restarting several reactors in April or later this year to improve its tough business conditions following the meltdown calamity that started in 2011 at its six-reactor Fukushima No. 1 complex.
Tepco applied for safety inspections of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s reactors 6 and 7 in late September, seeking to resume their operations in April. But the checkup process by nuclear regulators is not yet in full swing amid concerns over the utility’s poor handling of the Fukushima catastrophe.
By presenting a more realistic schedule for the reactor restarts, which would enable the utility to save costs from importing fuel for thermal power generation, Tepco apparently wants to assure banks that its earnings will significantly improve in the next fiscal year so it can secure ¥500 billion in loans in December.
Tepco has no intention of resorting to further rate hikes in the meantime, the sources said.
Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida, who has been pushing for the prefecture to run its own checks on the safety of the reactors, criticized Tepco, indicating the utility shouldn’t expect to restart the reactors by July.