Tepco seeks more aid as Fukushima clean-up costs rise

Residents of Kawauchi village inside the no-go zone head home to collect their belongings
Image caption Tepco is facing compensation claim from residents and businesses that had to be relocated

The owner of crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has requested further financial help from the Japanese government.

It said clean-up costs and compensation claims for those affected by leaks at the plant may exceed initial estimates.

Radiation leaks at the plant after last year's quake and tsunami saw thousands of people evacuated from the area.

The firm has already received 1tn yen ($12.5bn; £7.8bn) in government aid.

The utility was, in effect, nationalised after the government took a 50.11% stake in the group in exchange for the capital injection.

Rising costs

The total clean-up costs and claims were initially estimated to be around 5tn yen.

When contacted by the BBC, the company did not disclose how much it expected the costs to increase. However, according to some reports they are projected to double to 10tn yen.

Along with compensation claims, the firm has also seen its operational costs rise in recent times.

This was after the leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant resulted in other nuclear plants being shut, forcing it to rely on traditional thermal power stations to produce electricity.

These power stations require fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas to operate which are relatively more expensive.

The company, which provides power to some of Japan's most important economic areas, has already raised electricity prices in an attempt to offset the rising costs.

Tepco said it was putting in place further cost cutting measures to save an additional 100bn yen a year.

It had previously set a target of reducing its costs by 336.5bn yen a year for the next 10 years as part of its restructuring plan.

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