National

Top Tepco officials vow to achieve turnaround under revised biz plan

Kyodo

Top officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co. again said Monday they plan to pursue a new business plan they hope will revive the utility from the man-made debacle it has confronted since 2011, when the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant experienced three reactor-core meltdowns.

In his New Year’s address to employees, Tepco Chairman Kazuhiko Shimokobe said the plan was on the way.

“This new business plan is expected to be endorsed by the government after the middle of this month. . . . With you all, I will do my utmost to achieve it,” he said.

He delivered the speech to around 200 employees at the Fukushima No. 2 plant, which is just to the south of crippled Fukushima No. 1. Footage was shown live at its Tokyo head office.

The plan, submitted in December, will replace an earlier one that needed to be revamped in part because Tepco has been unable to restart the reactors at its idled Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The plan was handed by Tepco and a state-backed bailout fund to Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. Although its contents won’t be announced until Motegi approves it, the plan is certain to refer to expanded state support for the ailing utility.

Tepco President Naomi Hirose, who delivered a speech after Shimokobe, said the plan shows relatively clearly the utility’s future over the next 10 to 20 years, including how it will emerge from the current effective state control.

“We are at the stage of working out concrete action plans at the level of each workplace, organization and individual to steer Tepco, as a whole, in the direction (of realizing the plan),” Hirose said.

As a result of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Tepco is saddled with trillions of yen in compensation payment obligations and costs to clean up radiation-contaminated land outside the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The company is also facing heavy outlays for importing fossil fuel to boost thermal power generation to make up for the loss of nuclear power.

To bolster its financial standing, Tepco received a ¥1 trillion capital injection from the state-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund in 2012, falling under effective state control.

Monju computer virus

A computer at the Monju experimental nuclear reactor complex in Fukui Prefecture was found to be infected with a virus, a source said Monday.

The server administrator noticed Jan. 2 that a single employee-use workstation at the prototype fast-breeder reactor sitting idle in the city of Tsuruga was not operating normally, the source said.

According to the source at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which is in charge of Monju, while data on the computer could have been breached outside the server, none of it is crucial to the reactor’s safety.