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Japan: Fukushima Nuclear Plant Operator May Post $12 Billion Loss

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Asia’s largest utility Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is expected to book losses of more than JPY 1 trillion (USD 12.4 billion) in fiscal 2010 as a result of the accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a top-selling business daily reported Wednesday.

TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima plant, had logged a group net profit of JPY 139.8 billion (USD 1.7 billion) for the April-December period, but the charges stemming from the crisis will likely result in a net loss of more than JPY 1 trillion (USD 12.4 billion) for all of fiscal 2010 ended March 31, the Nikkei Shimbun said.

The company has estimated the cost of decommissioning the four crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site at JPY 600 billion (USD 7.4 billion), and it plans to book the amount as an extraordinary loss for last fiscal year, the newspaper said. Under present circumstances, it will be difficult to restart the nuclear plant’s remaining two reactors, which were offline due to periodic inspections when the March 11 earthquake struck, and reactors at the nearby Fukushima Daini plant.

As a result, TEPCO’s fuel costs for fossil-fuel-burning power plants will balloon, undercutting profitability. In addition to the losses stemming from the nuclear accident, compensation payments starting this fiscal year will erode its finances further.

On Tuesday, TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu requested government financial help in paying compensation to those affected by the Fukushima plant disaster, saying its fundraising situation is “extremely difficult.”

The magnitude 9.0-earthquake and 15-meter tsunami knocked out the cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, 230 km north of Tokyo, causing reactors to overheat and radiation leaks. Two months after the accident, the utility is still struggling to restore the reactors’ cooling functions, which are crucial to put the radiation crisis under the control.

KUNA

KUNA

KUNA is the Kuwait News Agency

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