Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the embattled operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power facility is set to decommission the two working reactors at the site that was not damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. TEPCO’s management board revealed that it will permanently shut down reactors 5 and 6 at Fukushima, as reactors 1 through 3 suffered catastrophic meltdowns upon being flooded by the tsunami. Reactor 4 was offline at the time, but the building housing it suffered heavy damage as well.
For now, the last two reactors will be completely shut down. “We are studying if we could use the facilities for research purposes,” TEPCO spokesman Koichiro Shiraki revealed, as they are still examining ways on how to decommission the heavily damaged reactors 1 through 4. As the Japanese public is waiting on the government’s policy to re-starting Japan’s idled nuclear plants, there is huge pressure for TEPCO to finally announce that they would not restart reactors at Fukushima. At the time of the tsunami, reactors 5 and 6 were being maintained and they were offline, which is the reason why escaped major damage.
TEPCO had revealed this decision of scrapping reactors 5 and 6 as new accounting rules regarding the Fukushima decommissioning became active in October, and TEPCO would not have to pay the massive charges associated with the decommissioning process. “We are currently examining the impact of the latest decision on our accounting,” TEPCO said. It is widely known that TEPCO’s decommissioning of the Fukushima site will take some 40 years. The government is also planning to increase their financial assistance from 5 million yen to almost 10 million to aid them in both the decommissioning and the payment of damages to those who were affected by the meltdown.