In what comes as a surprising move from Japan’s financing institutions, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is set to receive around 500 billion yen (approx. $5.09 billion) in loans from various creditors. The source says this will be a “lifeline” for the company that has faced international criticism for the way they’ve handled the decommissioning of the plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
The major banks of TEPCO will be giving 200 billion yen in loan rollovers and 300 billion yen in new financing to the embattled operator. The news that TEPCO has been able to apply to restart their Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the world’s largest nuclear plant and which did not suffer any damage from the 2011 disasters, has also prompted 28 financial institutions, including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and the Bank of Japan, to roll-over 77 billion yen ($784 million) in loans that were supposedly due by the end of this month. TEPCO President Naomi Hirose welcomed the news, saying that because of this, they are most likely to make their first profit in three years by March 2014, even without raising their electricity rates or restarting any of the reactors.
TEPCO has been continually criticized in the media and in the international community for their handling of the clean-up at Fukushima, with the government needing to take over after the operator admitted the leakage of at least 300 tons of contaminated water from the storage tanks that houses it. The administration has pledged half a billion dollars in order to contain the problem and avoid further damage to the environment around the nuclear plant.
[ via Reuters ]