Govt. panel: TEPCO should improve profitability

Govt. panel: TEPCO should improve profitability

A government panel of experts has compiled a report saying that the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant should endeavor to improve its profitability to fund the aftermath of the 2011 accident.

The report released on Tuesday says Tokyo Electric Power Company is liable for 16 trillion yen, or about 137 billion dollars, of the entire cost of decontamination, decommissioning the plant, and compensation payments. The total estimate stands at about 180 billion dollars.

However, the panel also notes that there are limits to the amount TEPCO can fund on its own.

The report strongly urges the utility to streamline or merge with other power companies so that the public doesn't have to bear a greater burden.

It says TEPCO could take such measures in the nuclear power business at another of the utility's plants in Niigata Prefecture, or in the business of distributing electricity to households.

The report also says the government should remain involved in the decommissioning and compensation payments.

The government plans to put a new system in place that would require most consumers to bear the compensation costs.

The report asks the government to secure transparency in the system and to mitigate the burden on the public.