Two major utilities and a pair of power plant manufacturers are considering a four-way alliance on nuclear power operations, sources said Wednesday, as the industry grapples with rising costs related to decommissioning and safety. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co. are in discussions with Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. to possibly launch a joint company that would handle reactor maintenance. They are also considering jointly decommissioning obsolete reactors, the sources said. Decommissioning and safety-related costs have been rising for power providers following meltdowns at Tepco's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Tougher safety rules have been introduced in the wake of the crisis.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and other major utilities will start talks this spring on jointly building and operating a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, sources close to the matter said Friday. The plan involves Tepco's Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, the construction of which was suspended following meltdowns at the firm's Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011. Tohoku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., and Japan Atomic Power Co. are expected to participate in the project, according to the sources. Kansai Electric Power Co. is also considering joining a group to discuss the role of each utility and how to shoulder the huge costs related to the Higashidori plant, they said. The government, which holds the majority of Tepco's voting rights through a state-backed bailout fund, is expected to support the move.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and three other companies are considering jointly setting up a new firm to construct and manage a planned nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, informed sources said Thursday. The three partners are Chubu Electric Power Co., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp., the sources said. Under the plan, the new company will build and run a new nuclear plant next to Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Higashidori nuclear facility, which has been idle since the triple core meltdown at Tepco's Fukushima No. 1 plant. Tepco had been building a new plant at the Higashidori site but suspended construction in the wake of the 2011 disaster. The move by the four companies may lead to a realignment of the nuclear power industry.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said Friday that it will start a geological survey in late fiscal 2018 for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Higashidori, Aomori Prefecture. In the survey through fiscal 2020, a 2-kilometer tunnel will be dug to check a fault structure under the site, located next to the site of a Tohoku Electric Power Co. nuclear plant under which an active fault is said to possibly exist. Tokyo Electric, also known as Tepco, is calling on other domestic power utilities to join the Higashidori project in the face of rising construction costs after the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the country's worst nuclear disaster at the company's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. "It's necessary to form a consortium for building a nuclear plant that is excellent in safety, technology and economy," Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told a news conference in Tokyo. The Higashidori plant would have the same type of boiling-water, light-water reactors that were used at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. is aiming to integrate its nuclear and power transmission and distribution businesses with other utilities to free up funds to use in dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. According to Tepco's revised business turnaround plan announced Wednesday, the company will establish a consortium with other utilities to quickly facilitate its reorganization and integration plan. The utility's first major revision to the plan since its formulation in January 2014 follows the industry ministry's doubling of its estimated total cost for the nuclear disaster cleanup to ¥22 trillion ($197 billion). Once it finishes the overall revision, possibly in April, Tepco hopes to get government approval for the plan. Under the revised plan, Tepco hopes to boost management efficiency and increase productivity to free up funds, and it will decide whether to postpone freeing itself from state control from the originally planned fiscal 2017 to the fiscal year starting in April 2019.