Japan's "long war" to deal with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe could cost more than $500 billion
"...The reactors were declared to be in a stable state called cold-shut down in December 2011. But now Japan faces an unprecedented clean-up that experts say could cost at least $100 billion for decommissioning the reactors and another $400 billion for compensating victims and decontaminating areas outside the plant.
Tepco said in November the costs of compensation to residents and decontamination of their neighborhoods might double to 10 trillion yen ($107 billion) from a previous estimate. That did not include a forecast for decommissioning...
The Japan Center for Economic Research, a Tokyo-based think tank, has estimated that decontamination costs alone in the Fukushima residential area could balloon to as much as $600 billion...
Estimates for total costs are mostly guesswork. "Only God knows," said Chuo University's Annen [Junji Annen, a professor at Chuo University who last year chaired a panel on Tepco's finances].
Whatever the final bill, Japanese consumers are likely to end up paying much of it, either through taxes, higher electricity rates or both, even as Japan's government struggles with massive public debt and the costs of an ageing population.
That may be unpopular but also inevitable.
"This kind of job has never been done," said Keiro Kitagami, a former lawmaker who headed a government task force overseeing R&D for the project. "The technology, the wherewithal, has never been developed. Basically, we are groping in the dark."