Japan’s government estimates the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will end up costing its operator more than 170 billion dollars. The figure includes the costs of decommissioning the facility, as well as compensation and decontamination work.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has said it will secure about 17 billion dollars to decommission the plant’s reactors.
However, government officials now say the total cost will be more than 4 times higher. They estimate about 70 billion dollars will be required for the work, which includes removing melted nuclear fuel and dealing with radioactive wastewater.
The costs of decontamination work and constructing intermediate storage facilities for contaminated soil and waste materials are also likely to increase.
An additional 70 billion dollars will be needed to compensate farmers seeking damages.
The government will temporarily shoulder some of the compensation costs, and seek repayment from TEPCO at a later date. Other power companies are sharing some of the burden, which means higher electricity bills for consumers.
Japan’s industry ministry is currently working on a plan to reform TEPCO’s management and divert its profits to decommissioning work. But the ballooning costs are threatening this plan. The government aims to decide by the year-end how to share the financial burden, and how the work will be done.