TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The state-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday it would need to spend about 1.9 trillion yen ($17.1 billion) to close 79 facilities over 70 years, in its first such estimate.
The total costs could increase further, as the agency said the estimated figure, which would be shouldered by taxpayers, excludes expenses for maintenance and replacing aging equipment.
The JAEA plans to close more than half of the 79 facilities over the next 10 years due in part to the increased costs to operate them under stricter safety rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. The agency, which has led nuclear energy research in Japan with its predecessors since the 1950s, owns a total of 89 facilities.
Of the estimated costs, the expense for closing the nation's first spent-fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, accounts for the largest chunk of 770 billion yen. It will cost 150 billion yen to decommission the trouble-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor.
As for nuclear waste, the agency said about 100 kiloliters of high-level radioactive waste and up to 114,000 kl of low-level radioactive waste were estimated to have been produced but it has yet to decide on disposal locations.
The Japanese government aims to restart nuclear power plants after a nationwide halt following the nuclear crisis, despite persistent concern over the safety of atomic power generation.