Top Tepco officials vow to achieve turnaround under revised biz plan


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.

  • Jens Hvass

    TEPCO’s business plan is not simply about survival of the company. TEPCO only survives due to government support, and thus its future activity should be determined also from a non-company perspective.

    If anything, 10-20 years from now, TEPCO should be a leader in smart grid solutions and integrated sustainable energy system solutions. And maybe a branch of TEPCO developed into the leading nuclear decommissioning company.

    But TEPCO’s plans for establishing new coal plants should be stopped. They will misfit the future energy supply, and they will keep Japan away from living up to its climate targets and international climate obligations.

    In order to stay within the carbon budget established by IPCC’s latest AR5 report (WG I), we need to bring emmissions down below 1 ton CO2 pr person pr. year within a couple of decades. And this leaves absolutely no room for establishing new coal plants in a developed country like Japan.

    Right now Japan has a perceived lack of energy supply. But solar and wind are booming and with the right incentives and grid policies will continue so. The Japanese popolation is decreasing, the potential of energy saving & efficiency is huge, and probably within a year or two, at least a couple of the least unsafe reactors will be back online, so Japan is hastily heading towards an energy surplus.

    In Europe, a 2013 report estimated that by 2017, 30% of the present fossil power capacity will be shut down (link below), and except for Poland, most likely, there will be no more new coal plants. As former head of NASA, James E. Hansen stated back in 2009: “Coal is best left in the ground.”