TEPCO works hard to pull out from government control

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose speaks during an interview at the company's headquarters in Tokyo. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO —

The Japanese government fund may reduce its stake in Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to below 50% in 2017 if the company achieves its goals including its first bond issuance in six years, the company’s president said.

TEPCO was saved from bankruptcy by the government in 2012 following reactor meltdowns at its Fukushima Daiichi plant after an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

TEPCO, owned 50.1% by the government fund, will be vetted in March 2017 to see if the targets set by Tokyo have been achieved. Then the government may lower its stake to below 50% next year and in stages to zero by early 2030s.

“The process for attaining the goals is progressing smoothly,” TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told a group of reporters. “We are not optimistic but the situation is not disastrous.”

Almost five years after the disaster, TEPCO has lowered radiation levels at the plant and increased substantially the areas where workers can walk around with no full-face masks on, he said.

Asked whether Fukushima Daiichi plant’s decommissioning will complete within 40 years as planned, he said: “That’s a tough question. But once the fuel debris is removed, the risks would fall dramatically.”

The Fukushima disaster had led to the shutdown of all of Japan’s reactors for stringent safety checks, forcing operators to import record amounts of coal and expensive LNG for power generation.

TEPCO recently made a step forward in restarting its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant after clearing a key hurdle on quake projections. But its original goal to restart two reactors in 2014 has been indefinitely delayed due to time-consuming safety checks by the regulator.

TEPCO posted a record recurring profit in the nine months to December, not relying on nuclear power generation, helped by the significant savings in fuel procurement and a lag of several months for the effect of falling energy prices to be passed on to consumers.

“It is difficult to post sustainable profits without nuclear power,” Hirose said, adding if oil spiked to $50 a barrel it would be worse off financially.

Ahead of the 8.1 trillion yen ($69 billion) retail power sector liberalization from April, TTEPCO anticipates that its lion’s share will be eroded. But it aims to complement that by entering other monopolies’ turfs, winning overseas power business and entering city gas business in future, he said.

  • 0

    turbotsat

    'Not our fault, not our fault.'

  • 2

    klausdorth

    "Asked whether Fukushima Daiichi plant’s decommissioning will complete within 40 years as planned, he said: “That’s a tough question. But once the fuel debris is removed, the risks would fall dramatically.”

    What risks is he talking about? And can't he just give a (at least more or less) clear YES or NO answer?? Guess they don't even know themselves, or maybe they know better?

    But was there anything else to expect from TEPCO? They "BSed" all the time ... and they won't change!

  • 1

    Carl-Åke Utterström

    I have Heard that the actual radiation in worst contaminaited areas is annual 120 milliSievert. Is that correct or what iss the actual level?

  • 2

    citizen2000

    TEPCO, owned 50.1% by the government fund, will be vetted in March 2017 to see if the targets set by Tokyo have been achieved. Then the government may lower its stake to below 50% next year and in stages to zero by early 2030s.

    TEPCO plans to suck our tax money until 2030 while sharing any profit between the private share holders, this company should not exist by now, only our tax money and there cut in the cost of decontamination by dropping everything in the ocean nearby makes them still afloat.

  • 2

    sighclops

    TEPCO posted a record recurring profit in the nine months to December, not relying on nuclear power generation, helped by the significant savings in fuel procurement and a lag of several months for the effect of falling energy prices to be passed on to consumers

    Oh yeah, I'm sure one of Japan's most trusted companies (yes, that was a poor attempt at sarcasm) will simply 'pass on the savings'. Energy prices have only gone up! Not to mention rail fares (with the seemingly indefinite setsuden push) & airfares (fuel surcharges).

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    '“The process for attaining the goals is progressing smoothly,” TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told a group of reporters.'

    When asked how compensation and decommissioning were going, Hirose said, "Hai. We all must sacrifice for a better Japan. I'm sure they don't mind the temporary shelters, though if they haven't moved back to their homes around the plant soon they'll have to pay rent and get no more money. Dangers? Oh, no, none whatsoever. I visited Fukushima some years ago with my family. Wonderful place. Great produce! Decommissioning is a tough question... I prefer to call it, "recommissioning" to the mission of making the place great, and TEPCO, with it's increased profit -- is looking to get out from under government control so we can keep doing so for you, our valued customer".

Login to leave a comment

OR

Work
in Japan

Search the Largest English Job Board in Japan.

Find a Job Now!

More in Business

View all

View all

Time
to Buy
in Japan

Find the perfect home today!

Search