TOKYO -- The cost of scrapping the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will likely balloon to around 8 trillion yen ($70.8 billion) due to the difficulty of removing nuclear fuel debris from the devastated facility.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings had initially expected the massive undertaking to cost 2 trillion yen and secured the necessary funding resources. Because the utility is still preparing to decommission the reactors, spending currently hovers at around 80 billion yen per year. However, annual outlays will jump to hundreds of billions of yen once Tepco begins extracting debris in the early 2020s. The entire decommissioning endeavor is set to last three or four decades.
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will continue to have the Tokyo-based utility shoulder the costs. But the ministry will allow the power supplier to apply excess income toward the decommissioning efforts. Usually a utility is forced to pass along any extra profits to customers by lowering power bills.
Compensation paid to the victims of the Fukushima disaster will also climb to about 8 trillion yen, up from an estimated 5.4 trillion yen. Along with costlier decontamination work and other expenses, aggregate outlays related to the accident will rise above 20 trillion yen.