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Nuke taxes

January 7, 2015

Genkai mayor asks Kyushu Electric to pay tax on spent nuclear fuel




GENKAI, Saga Prefecture--Kyushu Electric Power Co. indicated it was willing to pay a new tax on spent nuclear fuel stored at its Genkai nuclear plant to help the town recover lost revenue from reactor shutdowns.

Genkai Mayor Hideo Kishimoto on Jan. 6 asked Kyushu Electric Power President Michiaki Uriu to accept the tax plan, which would provide Genkai with about 300 million yen ($2.5 million) in new tax revenue annually.

Kyushu Electric Power is seeking to resume operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Genkai plant, but it has also decommissioned the No. 1 reactor. Having that reactor offline has hurt Genkai’s municipal treasury.

After the meeting at the town government hall, the mayor told reporters that Uriu appeared prepared for the new tax because a similar levy has been imposed by Satsuma-Sendai city in Kagoshima Prefecture. Kyushu Electric Power operates the Sendai nuclear power plant there.

Kishimoto said he holds two views on when the new tax would be imposed: as soon as possible or after the Genkai reactors are restarted.

“Although Kyushu Electric Power has moved into the black with the Sendai plant back in operation, it is only a small amount,” Kishimoto said. “They are saying their profit margin will not recover unless the Genkai plant also resumes operations, so they may not have the leeway right now.”

For his part, Uriu told reporters: “While I understand the need from the standpoint of the fiscal condition of the town government, I also asked for the town government’s understanding about the extremely difficult nature of our own fiscal condition. We want to work out the details, including the actual tax rate.”

When the four reactors at the Genkai plant were running, the town government’s fiscal condition was so robust that from fiscal 1995, it did not need any handouts from the central government in the form of ordinary tax subsidies.

At that time, a major portion of the town’s revenues came in the form of taxes paid by Kyushu Electric Power for both operating the nuclear reactors and for property taxes on the land where the plant is located.

Some of those revenues are based on the amount of electricity generated, so the town’s tax revenues plunged after the Genkai reactors were taken offline for safety reasons following the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The tax that Kyushu Electric Power pays Satsuma-Sendai city for spent nuclear fuel works out to about 390 million yen a year, based on a tax rate of 250,000 yen for each fuel assembly.

(This article was written by Ikko Ishida and Shuhei Shibata.)


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