Tepco’s nuclear crisis has cost Japanese people ¥3.46 trillion


Japanese people have paid more than ¥3.46 trillion over the past five years in costs associated with the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Jiji Press learned.

The per capita cost of damages, decontamination work, measures against tainted water and other relevant work needed to deal with the crippled plant, which was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, came to ¥27,000.

The disaster-response costs are the aggregate of the government’s direct fiscal spending, expenses from the proceeds of the sale of government-held Tepco shares and from the government’s energy-related special account, and additional charges that Tepco and six other power firms received through rate increases to cover damages.

Following the Fukushima accident, the seven power firms have raised rates to cover damages by at least a total ¥327 billion through fiscal 2015, which ends this month.

In its rate increases, Tepco included over ¥219.3 billion of costs for maintaining equipment that treats tainted water, and operating call centers that handle inquiries about damages.

The additional charges are paid to the government, which is paying damages temporarily on behalf of Tepco, through the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. after operational fees for the institution are deducted. The institution’s operational expenses through fiscal 2014 came to ¥11.7 billion.

The proceeds from the Tepco share sale and disbursements from the energy-related special account are used to fund decontamination work, disposal of radioactive waste and interim storage facilities for tainted soil. Such costs totaled ¥1.69 trillion through fiscal 2014, and the government has temporarily paid that amount on behalf of Tepco.

Loans extended by banks to fund the institution’s purchases of Tepco shares are guaranteed by the government. If the loans turn sour, taxpayer money will be used to cover the losses.

The institution expects some ¥2.5 trillion in capital gains through selling of the Tepco shares if the share price goes up sharply, which it says will be enough to cover costs related to the decontamination work.

From the energy-related special account, which includes revenues from the tax designed to encourage the development of electric power sources, some ¥1.1 trillion is used to build interim storages.

In the government’s direct spending through fiscal 2014, a total of ¥1.21 trillion was spent on decommissioning work, radiation checkups and the maintenance of research and development.

Including costs for decontamination work and other direct spending by the government in fiscal 2015 that have yet to be confirmed, the public burden is estimated to grow further.