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Is TEPCO to decide ?

March 10, 2012

TEPCO to indicate in March whether all Fukushima reactors to be scrapped



FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. will indicate later in the month whether all the reactors at its two nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture will be scrapped, not just the four badly damaged reactors to be decommissioned at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, company President Toshio Nishizawa said Friday.

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato has demanded that the utility known as TEPCO scrap not only the crisis-hit Nos. 1 to 4 units at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant but also the Nos. 5 and 6 reactors at the complex, as well as the Nos. 1 to 4 reactors at the company's Fukushima Daini plant.

"We must show our view" in the company's comprehensive restructuring plan to be compiled by the end of the month, Nishizawa told reporters during a visit to the prefecture ahead of the first anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the nuclear crisis.

He also said the company will consider whether to scrap all the reactors by "listening to local opinions and watching discussions on nuclear power taking place inside the government."

Cash-strapped since the accident, TEPCO and a state-backed bailout fund are working to compile the restructuring plan.

Sources close to the matter said Friday that TEPCO is also set to compile a plan on power supply over the next 10 years, based on the assumption that the six reactors other than the Fukushima Daiichi plant's Nos. 1 to 4 units remain suspended.

The plan, which utilities are obliged to submit to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry every year, will also be submitted later in the month, the sources said.

If left unable to restart for 10 years, the six reactors would exceed, or move closer to, the 40-year limit that the government is seeking to set for the operational life of the country's nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.

As the government plans to basically scrap reactors that surpass the limit as part of enhanced nuclear regulation, TEPCO's power supply plan suggests the six reactors may end up entering the decommissioning process without resuming operation.

Deciding to scrap the six reactors would mean that TEPCO, already struggling under massive compensation payments related to the crisis, could face a much greater financial burden.

The power-generation capacity of the six reactors totals 6.28 million kilowatts. TEPCO will make up for the loss by increasing thermal power generation and through other means.

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