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Friday
Mar312017

Tepco's Fukushima: the most expensive industrial accident in history

As reported by Shaun Burnie in Asia Times, in an article entitled "Fukushima Bill: Six Years after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, Toshiba and Westinghouse join Tokyo Electric Power in a Fight for Survival."

The article reports:

In November 2016, the Japanese Government announced a revised estimate for the Fukushima nuclear accident (decommissioning, decontamination, waste management and compensation) of ¥21.5 trillion (US$193 billion) – a doubling of their estimate in 2013.

But the credibility of the government’s numbers have been questioned all along, given that the actual ‘decommissioning’ of the Fukushima plant and its three melted reactors is entering into an engineering unkown.

This questioning was borne out by the November doubling of cost estimates after only several years into the accident, when there is every prospect Tepco will be cleaning up Fukushima well into next century.

And sure enough, a new assessment published in early March from the Japan Institute for Economic Research, estimates that total costs for decommissioning, decontamination and compensation as a result of the Fukushima atomic disaster could range between ¥50-70 trillion (US$449-628 billion). (emphasis added)

Shaun Burnie is a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Tokyo. He has worked on nuclear issues worldwide for more than three decades, including since 1991 on Japan’s nuclear policy.