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Japanese consumers will be paying for Fukushima for decades

Government nearly doubles estimate for cleanup, compensation costs

One of the crippled reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

TOKYO -- The Japanese government on Friday roughly doubled its estimate of the total cost of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and compensating victims of the 2011 meltdowns, meaning that consumers could be paying more for electricity for a longer period of time.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revealed the new 21.5 trillion yen ($186 billion) figure, double the outlook from 2013, through meetings with experts and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. "We don't think it will increase further for some time, but it's possible depending on any changes to the situation," METI chief Hiroshige Seko told reporters.

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