Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the utility that operates the Fukushima nuclear plant and is widely seen as responsible for the crisis that took place after the facility was hit by the March 2011 tsunami, revealed today that it still needs even more money from the Japanese government to pay for victim compensations and the ballooning cost of cleaning the world’s worst nuclear disaster in the last 25 years. This request comes even after a 1 trillion yen (approx. $12.5 billion) bailout put the utility effectively under government control in May of this year.
While in October 2011, only seven months after the tsunami caused reactor meltdowns and the forced evacuations of tens of thousands of people, TEPCO estimated compensation costs would be around 1.1 trillion yen. Now the utility has more than tripled that figure to be 3.24 trillion ($38 billion), with the possibility of it reaching well over 5 trillion yen ($62 billion) when adding the cost of clean-up efforts. TEPCO has already received roughly 1.5 trillion yen in financial aid to address the payments that threaten to put the company out of business.
In a statement explaining the reason for requesting addition assistance, TEPCO points out that the areas requiring evacuations due to radiation threats have expanded, along with voluntary evacuees becoming eligible for some compensation. The Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, a public-private body that was established last year to help deal with the nuclear disaster, is expected to begin considering TEPCO’s request in the New Year. The fund has been handing aid payments related to victim compensation, however the utility is required to pay everything back in the future.
[via France 24]