TEPCO to sell “idle assets”? They should have thought of that long ago, starting with the people who came up with the idle-brained idea of installing 54 nuclear reactors on a tiny island located atop 4 active earthquake faults.
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Third-party panel to demand resignation by TEPCO management
TOKYO (Kyodo) — A third-party panel tasked by the government with overseeing Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s cost-cutting efforts has decided to call for a resignation by the utility’s management, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
In its final report to be possibly compiled later this month, the panel is set to clearly state that it would be desirable for the management to “fulfill its business responsibility through measures including resigning, declining retirement pay and returning stock holdings” as a prerequisite for the firm to receive government financial support in compensation to victims of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
A cost-cutting plan unveiled by the utility in May includes pay cuts for the management, eliminating the full remuneration for the president and cutting 60 percent of pay for managing directors.
But the panel has apparently judged that a stricter measure will be needed, calling on the management to fulfill a level of responsibility from a moral perspective as the firm would be receiving a large amount of public funds.
TEPCO, which is expected to draft a special business plan possibly at the end of next month with the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corp., is supposed to reflect the panel’s final report into the plan.
In the report, the panel will suggest that TEPCO have a serious discussion with the compensation facilitation body over specific ways to take business responsibility, the sources said.
The panel will also request that TEPCO fundamentally improve its business practice, including its high cost structure, to meet its compensation payments for the nuclear accident, according to the sources.
TEPCO is considering corporate pension cuts for current and former employees and implementing its first-ever voluntary retirement program to save 100 billion yen a year.
It is also considering cutting expenses through suppression of repair and maintenance costs and also by selling idle assets.
(Mainichi Japan) September 28, 2011
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Industry ministry underreported opponents to reactivation of nuclear plant in Kyushu
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is suspected of underreporting the number of people who were opposed to the reactivation of the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in Saga Prefecture, sources close to the case said on Sept. 28.
If about 100 respondents to an Internet broadcast survey who were excluded from counting because their responses were sent after the deadline were included, the total number against would far outnumbered those who were in favor of reactivating the plant.
Moreover, one of the online responses pointed to the possibility that Kyushu Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, instructed employees as well as subsidiaries to send opinions to the program to express support for reactivation in an apparent attempt to manipulate public opinion, but the ministry failed to act on the claims.
METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy denied that it attempted to decrease the ratio of those against reactivation.
“We stopped accepting opinions during the broadcast, calculated them and released the results during the program. We never tried to make it look as though those who were opposed to the resumption of operations at the plant outnumbered those who were in favor by a smaller margin,” said an official with the agency’s public relations division.
METI had announced that 589 messages were sent from viewers to the program broadcast online on June 26 — 286 expressing support for the resumption of operations at the plant and 163 against reactivation.
Of the messages in support of the resumption, 141 messages subsequently turned out to have been sent by Kyushu Electric insiders. After these messages are excluded, messages against reactivation slightly outnumbered those in favor.
If about 100 messages sent to the broadcaster after the deadline were included, the ratio of those opposed to reactivation becomes larger, according to the sources.
(Mainichi Japan) September 28, 2011
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The Myth Lives On….
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Reactor restart may avert rate hike
Tepco redress estimated to top ¥4 trillion
The government panel tasked with overseeing Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s financial standing has estimated the utility could face more than ¥4 trillion in compensation costs related to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Panel sources said Monday that the independent committee calculated the figure based on government compensation guidelines, but the amount could increase as discussions are continuing on such issues as how far the utility should shoulder the costs to compensate people who have voluntarily evacuated from around the radiation-leaking plant.
The estimate is expected to provide a basis for talks over Tepco’s special operating plan, to be compiled as a condition for the company to seek assistance from a government-backed entity to secure funds to pay the massive amount of compensation.
The panel, headed by lawyer Kazuhiko Shimokobe, has calculated that Tepco could avoid falling into negative net worth without raising electricity rates if it is allowed to restart reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata Prefecture next summer.
But it also said that a rise in electricity rates would be unavoidable if there are delays in restarting the reactors, as the likelihood of accumulating liabilities will increase if the restart is pushed back, raising fears that Tepco could be crushed by debt.
The assessment, however, doesn’t take into account the costs of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the sources said.
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On September 27 the Ministry of Education and Science announced the result of their latest aerial survey of radiation contamination they did over Gunma Prefecture, and many people are dismayed that the contamination in the prefecture looks worse than feared.
So far, the Ministry has done the aerial surveys and mapped air radiation and soil contamination in: Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma.
MAPS AND MORE DETAILS AT: