Tepco to limit annual repayment to government to ¥50 billion

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will limit its annual repayments of financial aid from the government to pay compensation related to its nuclear catastrophe to ¥50 billion, which means taxpayers face shouldering higher interest payments.

The ceiling will be set so that Tepco can spend more on work to decommission reactors at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sources said Wednesday. Previously Tepco had assumed it would repay some ¥100 billion per year, or about half of its pretax profit.

The new scheme will be included in Tepco’s business reconstruction plan to be reviewed by the end of this year.

Tepco and the state-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund explained the repayment ceiling to main creditor banks Tuesday, according to the sources.

The fund currently extends loans of up to ¥5 trillion to Tepco to help the troubled company on compensation related to the nuclear crisis and the decontamination of areas subjected to radioactive fallout.

In September, Tepco announced a plan to raise an additional ¥1 trillion to help finance its efforts to deal with the ever-increasing radioactive water at the plant, based on a request from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tepco may face opposition from taxpayers who will have to shoulder higher interest payments.