Japan Approves Additional $9 Billion In TEPCO Aid

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Currently only 30% of Japan’s electricity is generated by the country's 54 main reactors. (Image. D. Candea)
Currently only 30% of Japan’s electricity is generated by the country's 54 main reactors. (Image. D. Candea)

WORLD

  • TEPCO forecasts loss from reactor meltdowns, compensation claims to near $9 billion
  • TEPCO may seek $25 billion in funding to recoup costs
  • Japanese authorities approve restart of two idled nuclear reactors

Despite receiving over $11 billion in aid from Japanese government just a few months ago, TEPCO was approved for yet another near $9 billion as it struggles to clean up from reactor meltdowns and meet compensation claims following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

By month end March 2012, TEPCO anticipates its losses will be at nearly $9 billion, which is up from its November estimate of almost $8 billion. The company, which has 29 million customers in the general Tokyo area, reported a loss of approximately $16 billion last fiscal year.

Now, as TEPCO sits on the brink of bankruptcy, it may seek an even larger bailout of upwards of $25 billion before this is over. In a recent statement to TEPCO President Toshio Nishizawa, Japan’s Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano says: “If TEPCO submits a business plan seeking a capital injection (from the government) without sufficient voting rights relative to the size of injection, I have absolutely no plans to approve it as long as I am in this position.”

As part of the conditions outlined by the Japanese government, TEPCO and the state-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund are drafting a business plan on how they intend to restructure the utility while compensating residents and dismantling the Fukushima reactors.

TEPCO Gets Green Light After Mandated Stress Tests

Currently, only three of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are operating. Japanese authorities recently ordered all reactors be shut down to undergo two-phase stress tests to determine their ability to withstand disasters like the massive earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima crisis.

As a result of these stress tests, Japan approved the restart of two idled nuclear reactors in coming months for the first time since the March 2011 nuclear crisis.

According to a recent report issued by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the two Ohi reactors in the western Fukui prefecture have taken the necessary steps to prevent severe damage from similar disasters to those that caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The measures taken include mobile back-up generators, installation of new pool refill systems for used fuel and abundant stores of emergency equipment.

Key Statistics - Nuclear Power in Japan (source: World Nuclear Association)

  • Japan originally intended to increase its energy consumption derived from the country’s nuclear reactors to 41% by 2017, and as much as 50% by 2030.
  • Currently, only 30% of Japan’s electricity is generated by the country's 54 main reactors.
  • Due to recent natural disasters, Japan has to import approximately 84% of its energy requirements.

By Laurie Juliano-Bachara for
Laurie Juliano-Bachara is a Chicago-based writer who covers the latest topics in professional services, entertainment and business news.

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