TEPCO not to restart nuclear plant hit by safety flaws until FY 2022

© Kyodo News

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, a facility on the Sea of Japan coast plagued by security issues, will not be restarted until fiscal 2022 at the earliest, a new business plan released by its operator showed Wednesday.

In the first revision of the document in four years, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. also outlined plans to invest up to 3 trillion yen ($27 billion) by fiscal 2030 for decarbonization efforts.

The plan is designed to raise funds for compensation, decontamination and decommissioning following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. As in the previous plan formulated in 2017, the company has maintained its goal of generating future annual profits of 450 billion yen after annual decommissioning and compensation costs of around 500 billion yen.

TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said at a press conference that the understanding of local residents would be a prerequisite for restarting nuclear power plants.

Touching on scandals that have recently come to light such as inadequate security measures at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, Kobayakawa underscored that "restoring (public) trust is a company-wide issue."

A number of cases of unauthorized access have occurred at the plant since January 2018, with the country's nuclear regulator earlier this year effectively banning TEPCO from restarting the plant until corrective actions are taken.

The company's latest business plan included an outlook for future revenue and expenditures, assuming that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa No. 7 reactor would be restarted in October 2022 at the earliest, and the No. 6 reactor in April 2024. It also said that one out of the Nos. 1 to 5 reactors would be restarted in 2028.

The revised cost benefit of restarting a reactor was estimated to be about 50 billion yen per unit, down from 90 billion yen in the previous plan to reflect changes in fuel prices and other factors.

TEPCO also plans to allocate 1 trillion yen to the development of renewable energies such as wind power, and 2 trillion yen for power grid expansion and nuclear power plants, according to the document.

It has set a goal of halving fiscal 2013 levels of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation by fiscal 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., which oversees TEPCO, will continue to monitor the company's efforts to reform its management, aiming to re-examine the nature of the government's involvement after three years.

The plan was submitted to the government for approval on Wednesday.