Tepco counts earthquake costs

30 January 2008

Losses of around ¥155 billion ($1.44 billion) are projected by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) for FY2007 as the costs of the July 2007 earthquake mount.


The consolidated loss figure for Tepco is over 50% higher than the last estimate, made at the end of the second half of FY2007, which put the loss at ¥95 billion ($880 million).

 Kashiwazaki Kariwa
Kashiwazaki Kariwa: the biggest nuclear power plant in the world


Tepco's announcement yesterday included a section dedicated to the effects of the magnitude 6.8 Niigata-Chuetsu-Oki earthquake, which violently shook the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant on 16 July 2007. All seven of the reactors remained safe during the event, which caused huge damage to the region and several deaths. However, checks to establish the units' safety to return to service are proving very lengthy, and could continue into the latter part of 2008.


The ongoing inspections at Kashiwazaki Kariwa are to cost ¥122 billion ($1.13 billion) in FY2007. In addition, ¥25 billion ($233 million) will go on civil engineering repairs while a geological survey of the site is to cost a total of ¥2 billion ($18 million).


Overall, the FY2007 impact of the earthquake is now projected to be ¥603.5 billion ($5.62 billion), a large part of that (¥440 billion, $4.10 billion) being increased fuel costs to replace the 8000 MWe of lost nuclear generation. The cost of extra fossil fuels has been compounded by a decrease in the exchange rate with the US dollar and an increase in crude oil prices since the last estimation.


Tepco's costs were somewhat offset by the need for less nuclear fuel and used fuel management, which helped reduce the figures by ¥40 billion ($373 million).


Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency are shortly to conclude their second tour of Kashiwazaki Kariwa. During their week-long visit they have been conferring with Tepco engineers and Japan's Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa) to learn as much as possible about the effects of such a large earthquake on a nuclear power plant.