Japan’s government has decided to lift the ceiling for interest-free loans to the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The government now estimates the facility will end up costing Tokyo Electric Power Company more than 194 billion dollars.
Decommissioning the plant is expected to cost 4 times the original estimate of 17 billion dollars. Compensation for farmers is expected to rise to 70 billion dollars from 47 billion dollars.
The cost of decontamination work and constructing intermediate storage facilities for contaminated soil and waste materials is also likely to increase to 53 billion dollars from 31 billion dollars.
Against this backdrop, the government plans to raise the upper limit of its loans to TEPCO from the current 79 billion dollars to 123 billion dollars.
The government plans to have TEPCO and other utilities pay back the loans. It says the utilities include newcomers to the market following deregulation of the retail power business this year.
Speculation is growing that the decision may result in higher electricity prices, which will increase the burden on consumers.