Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings , the operator of the power plant at the centre of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, has asked the government to take “structural” action due to the risk of insolvency, Jiji news agency reported on Wednesday.
President Naomi Hirose said that if the cost of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi plant were to balloon, there was a risk that Tepco will become insolvent, according to Jiji.
“We want the government to take structural steps and eliminate that risk,” it quoted him as saying after a government panel meeting on Tepco reform and the Fukushima plant.
A representative for Tepco was not able to immediately comment on the Jiji report.
The Mainichi daily reported on Wednesday that Japan’s utilities lobby expects clean-up and compensation costs from the Fukushima disaster to overshoot previous estimates by about 8 trillion yen ($78 billion). The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan has asked the government to shoulder the extra cost, the paper said.
Other Japanese media reported that the new government panel had agreed that management reform at Tepco was necessary at its first meeting earlier in the day.
Shares in Tepco were down 3 percent in afternoon trade after falling as much as 7.9 percent.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors melted down in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Dismantling the reactors is expected to take about 40 years. ($1 = 102.8700 yen)