Japan suggests nuclear decommissioning costs be passed to all power customers


The government says reactor decommissioning costs ought to be passed on to all customers even after the electricity market is opened to newcomers in 2016.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday the proposal would help facilitate the scrapping of aging reactors by letting utilities to recoup the massive expenses involved. But it could also impede competition by compelling new entrants with no nuclear power to share the cost, observers say.

The existing utilities would find it difficult to incorporate such costs into their bills when competition intensifies in a liberalized market, METI said.

Under the proposed scheme, all electricity suppliers would bear the decommissioning cost charged by a power transmission and distribution firm to be spun off from the 10 regional power monopolies between 2018 and 2020.

The panel discussing the utilities’ accounting system regarding the decommissioning of reactors plans to compile a report on the issue in January.