National

Panel says Fukushima power plant's cleanup fees are now almost double the 2013 estimate

Kyodo

The combined cleanup costs for the 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant have nearly doubled the figure estimated in 2013, reaching ¥21.5 trillion, a government panel said Friday.

The panel said it appears inevitable that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will have to ask customers to shoulder part of the costs, including compensation for affected people, outlays for decommissioning, and cleanup of areas contaminated with radioactive substances released from the plant.

To help the company secure money to cover ballooning expenses, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it is planning to raise the maximum amount of government bond issuance for the utility to ¥13.5 trillion from the current ¥9 trillion.

The panel raised its estimate for decommissioning fees to ¥8 trillion from the previous ¥2 trillion, for compensation to ¥7.9 trillion from ¥5.4 trillion and for decontamination costs to ¥4 trillion from ¥2.5 trillion. It also increased fees related to temporary storage facilities for soil contaminated with radioactive substances and other waste to ¥1.6 trillion from ¥1.1 trillion.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said at a news conference, “The costs could increase depending on the situation but could also drop in line with technological innovations in decommissioning work.”

The panel suggested that operations related to the Fukushima plant effectively stay under state control before reviewing the status in 2019.

The panel meeting, which began in early October, has also agreed on the need to seek cooperation from other power companies in reactivating Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, the world’s largest nuclear plant by generation capacity, which will be a main source of its revenue.

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