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» TEPCO and gov’t spent nealy 600 billion yen to battle Fukushima disaster

TEPCO and the government have spent 590 billion yen ($4.93 billion) battling the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but problems persist and taxpayers could lose if the situation doesn’t improve, the Board of Audit said.

TEPCO initially estimated that the entire process of decommissioning the No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and taking measures against the daily accumulation of contaminated water would cost 1 trillion yen.

The plant operator had already used 400 billion yen by the end of fiscal 2013. But the numerous water leaks, errors and mishaps at the plant prompted the government to appropriate 189 billion yen to the utility by the end of fiscal 2014.

In addition, the government will cover up to 9 trillion yen of TEPCO’s expenses for compensating victims of the disaster and decontaminating areas around the plant. Under that plan, TEPCO and other electric power companies will eventually pay back most of these costs.

However, a Board of Audit official indicated that the return of taxpayer money would hinge on progress at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

“If the decommissioning process and the measures against the buildup of contaminated water are not carried out smoothly, it could affect the government’s plans to recover the expenses,” the official said.

<Media Report>

Costs in problem-plagued struggle at Fukushima plant near 600 billion yen (Asahi Newspaper)

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