TEPCO loses hundreds of billions yen on Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactors – Company fails to compensate Fukushima Citizens

TEPCO loses hundreds of billions yen on Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactors – Company fails to compensate Fukushima Citizens

Tokyo, 27 June 2018 – One year after the launch of its new business plan, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) remains in crisis with uncertain future prospects, Greenpeace Japan warns today on the opening of the company’s annual shareholder meeting. While the company has denied payments to thousands of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has lost hundreds of billions yen in nuclear costs at its shutdown Kashiwazaki Kariwa and Fukushima Daini nuclear plants, which soared 30 percent in the past year.

Greenpeace Japan’s analysis of TEPCO concludes that restart of the Niigata reactor units 6&7, if it happens, will be further delayed and with no prospects for restart of any other reactor at the seven unit sites. Nuclear related costs and significant decline in customer base are two major reasons why TEPCO’s current business model needs to dramatically change.

In addition the company is facing class action lawsuits over the Fukushima disaster, including compensation claims, and a criminal prosecution that is due to be concluded later this year.

“Decommissioning the four reactors at Fukushima Daini is the right decision  – but they have squandered billions of yen by delaying what was inevitable. How long before they admit the same fate for Kashiwazaki Kariwa? Set against the losses of hundreds of billions of yen from their moribund nuclear reactors, TEPCO’s failure to pay their legal obligations to thousands of Fukushima evacuees is inexcusable and must be corrected,” said Kazue Suzuki of Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Japan.

TEPCO has refused to provide higher compensation payments demanded by over 15,000 citizens of Namie Town, with a class action lawsuit pending.[1] The annual additional 9.5 billion yen sought by the citizens of Namie, whose community was destroyed by the 2011 accident, is in stark contrast to the hundreds of billions TEPCO has spent on life support for reactors that are unlikely ever to operate.

Costs at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa and Fukushima Daini nuclear plants were ¥59.6 billion (US$510 million) in 2017.[2] Tepco has spent in total 700 billion yen on Kashiwazaki 6&7 in retrofits in an attempt to meet revised safety standards.[3] After seven years, TEPCO finally conceded on 14 June 2018 that it needs to decommission the four reactors at Fukushima Daini.[4]

“Government energy policy does not allow for the failure of TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki 6&7 restart, but there is no way forward for a company that pumps hundreds of billions into a failed nuclear plant. [5] TEPCO only exists because of taxpayer bailout, but those who pay, the people of Niigata and wider Japan, do not want business as usual nuclear power or fossil fuels.If the management of TEPCO want to demonstrate they are not just the puppets of the Japanese government, they need to meet in full their obligations to thousands of Fukushima citizens, abandon plans for nuclear power and be part of the only solution to the challenge of climate change through massive scaling up of renewable energy,” said Shaun Burnie, Senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany.

Kashiwazaki Kariwa – seismic hazards
There are no prospects of early restart of reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa. In 2017, Greenpeace Japan reported that restart of units 6&7 would be not be before 2021. We have revised this to 2022 or later. The political uncertainties in Niigata have grown, despite the narrow winning margin of the LDP backed candidate in the 10th June election. Completion of the investigations by the Niigata Fukushima committees will be at least mid 2020. Significantly, despite having passed the first stage of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) review, the multiple seismic related safety issues at the nuclear plant remain outstanding. This includes the disclosure by TEPCO in February 2018 that the emergency hydrogen vent building at the unit 6&7 site is vulnerable to seismic induced liquefaction. A more extensive assessment is now underway. However, effective mitigation measures are highly complex, and with the potential that liquefaction risks are far more extensive at the site. Citizen legal challenges are on going against the plant.

Fukushima Costs
In terms of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, costs in FY2017 were ¥286.8 billion (US$2.61 billion).(6) At the same time, the cost projections for Fukushima Daiichi are an underestimate. TEPCO in total has paid ¥7.03 trillion (US$64.21 billion) as FY2017, which was provided in grants from the state owned Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF). There remains no clarity on how precisely TEPCO will repay these debts.

TEPCO is planning to set aside 500 billion yen per annum to cover Fukushima Daiichi costs over the 30-40 years estimated to complete decommissioning, decontamination and compensation. This is more than twice TEPCO’s annual profit, which are likely to continue to decline. With alternative credible Fukushima disaster cost projections of 50-70 trillion yen,(8) rather than the government’s current estimate of 21 trillion, TEPCO needs to consider a doubling or more of its planned annual contributions. Facing greater competition in the electricity market, it lost 1.68 million customers in the last year for a total of 3.8 million since 2016, its not obvious how TEPCO can meet its current obligations, never mind future higher costs.

[1] CNIC Statement, April 11, 2018 : Liquidate TEPCO!, 4 June 2018

[2] Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Annual Report – Inc. FY2017 Financial Results, (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018), In 2016 maintenance costs were ¥43.7 billion (US$390 million). p13

[3] Yomiuri, “Japan’s nuclear energy policy at crossroads”, 23 June 2018

[4] Asahi Shimbun, “TEPCO to decommission Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant”, 14 June 2018

[5] Link to Greenpeace Japan Briefing Paper:  Evaluation and recommendations on the Japan’s Fifth Basic Energy Plan (draft)

[6] TEPCO Annual Report FY2017 

[7] Japan Center for Economic Research, “Accident Cleanup Costs May Rise to¥50-70 Trillion – It’s Time to Examine legal liquidation of TEPCO”, 2017


Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist, Greenpeace Germany, sburnie@greenpeace.org,+49 151 6432 0548 
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, +81 (0) 80-6558-4446