National

Tepco to decommission reactors at Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant

Kyodo, JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. will formally decide to decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant after informing the prefecture’s governor of its policy as early as this month, a company source has said.

Excluding the nearby No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, it is the first time that the utility has decided to decommission a nuclear facility, the source said Friday.

The decommissioning of all four reactors at the No. 2 plant will likely require more than 40 years and cost an estimated ¥280 billion ($2.6 billion), the source added. If realized, all 10 reactors in Fukushima Prefecture will be scrapped.

Tepco now believes that it can secure funds to cover costs for the decommissioning and necessary workers, sources said.

The company will submit a specific decommissioning plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority by the end of March 2020, according to the sources.

Closure of the No. 1 plant, which suffered core meltdowns at three of its six reactors, has already been decided.

After telling Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori about the policy, it could be formally approved at a Tepco board meeting scheduled for the end of this month, the source said.

The No. 2 complex was also hit by tsunami waves in the 2011 disaster and temporarily lost reactor cooling functions. But unlike the No. 1 plant, it escaped meltdowns.

Since the disaster, firms operating 21 nuclear reactors in the nation, including those at the No. 2 plant, have decided to decommission the facilities.

If the decision is approved by the board, the Tokyo-based utility’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture will become its only nuclear complex.

In June last year, Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told the governor that the company is leaning toward scrapping all four reactors at the No. 2 plant. A project team was later formed at the utility and looked into whether that is possible, according to the source.

The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts.

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