Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) Holdings, Inc. is set to ask the national government for financial assistance in decommissioning the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, company officials said.
The company will also seek consultations with the government over how it should foot the costs of paying compensation to those affected by the nuclear crisis and decontaminating areas affected by radioactive substances from the power station.
TEPCO Holdings has deemed that it cannot secure enough funds to fully cover these costs through its own efforts alone since the expenses are increasingly likely to surpass its estimates.
The utility has secured approximately 1 trillion yen to cover the expenses of decommissioning the crippled power plant and planned to raise another 1 trillion yen. However, it is expected to take the company 30 to 40 years to decommission the plant and deal with the aftermath of the crisis. Moreover, it has been pointed out that the actual decommissioning costs will far surpass 2 trillion yen.
At a news conference on July 28, Fumio Sudo, chairman of TEPCO Holdings, expressed fear that the company will face increased costs of shutting down the plant, pointing out that the decommission project is "work that nobody in the world has experienced."
The utility currently pays compensation and covers the costs of decontamination work by borrowing money from the state through the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decontamination Facilitation Corp.
However, the amount of compensation that the utility has so far paid has already reached 6 trillion yen, surpassing the 5.4 trillion yen initial plan. Moreover, decontamination costs are also expected to surpass 2.5 trillion yen as originally planned.
There are no prospects that operations at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture, which would help increase the company's profits, will be resumed in the foreseeable future. Moreover, TEPCO has faced intensifying competition in the electric power market as the retailing of power was fully liberalized in April. Under these circumstances, TEPCO Holdings is expected to ask the government to provide the firm with an infusion of public funds among other financial aid.