The owner of the Fukushima power plant continues to pick up the pieces of Japan’s worst nuclear disaster since the Second World War. Rob Steadman reports.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Japanese energy company and owner of the Fukushima power plant, announced that it is projecting a 580 billion yen ($7.6 billion) parent net loss, exceeding the expectation of analysts at Thompson Reuters.
The Fukushima power plant made international headlines in March 2011, when the Tōhoku earthquake caused fires and flooding, making three out of six reactors at the power plant experience full meltdown.
The earthquake rocked the nation killing thousands and damaging part of the country’s infrastructure. At Fukushima a state of emergency was declared and evacuations were ordered when the power plant released its radiation.
TEPCO’S financial problems are announced at the same time as research by the journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Written by experts from Europe and the US, it concludes that the quantity of radioactive materials released at the height of the crisis was equivalent to 42% of that from Chernobyl.
TEPCO will put this conclusion in a special business plan designed with a bailout body, which will supply billions in compensation for claims made due to the Fukushima disaster.
Fukushima is still in the process of being cleaned up. While not yet peer reviewed, the research suggests that the area around the site (150 miles north of Tokyo) will not be habitable for decades.
Another report, by the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety in France, says the pollution released into the Pacific Ocean and surrounding area is probably “30 times bigger” than TEPCO reported in May 2011.
Recently TEPCO were also publicly shamed by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, who published a report concluding that TEPCO was ill prepared for the disaster. The company’s share prices continue to fall, with the Financial Times reporting an 80% drop since March 2011.
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