Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe Expected to Skyrocket to $201 Billion

Fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant five years after the tsunami, Fukushima prefecture, Futaba, Japan

The total cost of cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 that left 19,000 people dead has nearly doubled the previous estimate at more than 22.6 trillion yen ($201 billion).

In 2013, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry estimated the overall cost of wrapping up the disaster at about 11 trillion yen ($97.9 billion), including compensation to those who were forced to flee and lost their homes, radiation decontamination and for decommissioning the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Reuters reported.

fukushima-japan-nuclear-plant-aftermath30

Due to loss of power and cooling, three reactors melted down at the plant, which is operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, also known as TEPCO, following a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The catastrophe also caused explosions and a large amount of radiation was released, forcing more than 160,000 people to evacuate, many of them never to see their homes again.

fukushima-japan-nuclear-plant-aftermath45

According to sources who have seen documents from the ministry outlining the latest estimate, compensation payments will jump to 8 trillion yen ($69 billion) from 5.4 trillion yen ($47 billion) and decontamination costs will double at around 5 trillion yen ($43 billion) from 2.5 trillion yen ($21 billion).

Several additional trillion yen will be required to decommission the reactors and deal with radioactive water at the plant with an earlier estimate of 2 trillion yen ($17 billion), the South China Morning Post reported.

The ministry is currently in discussions over how to find a solution to the crisis, including how much it is likely to cost and who should pay for it.

Along with the cost of building interim radioactive waste storage facilities, the total cost is expected to be more than 20 trillion yen, sources said. Meanwhile, it may take up to 30 years to get back the 9 trillion yen through payments from TEPCO.

fukushima-japan-nuclear-plant-aftermath41

The company admitted on Monday that electricity consumers would have to pay a percentage of  clean-up costs through higher bills, BBC reported.

This is essentially a tax on the public to pay the debt of a private electricity utility.

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com