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Japanese electric power consumers to share NPP dismantling costs

January 14, 2015, 12:24 UTC+3 TOKYO

It costs at least $180 million to decommission one reactor

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TOKYO, January 14. /TASS/. The costs of dismantling of outdated or unsafe nuclear power plants in Japan will be equally shared by the country’s electric power consumers, a working group of the economy, trade and industry ministry said on Wednesday.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, all the nation's 48 commercial nuclear reactors were shut down. The government later introduced stricter safety standards in case of accidents and disasters.

The government said nuclear power plants will be decommissioned when their authorized 40-year lifespans expire. Some 5 reactors are expected to be dismantled and the plans will be officially announced next month.

The loss due to decommissioning of one reactor is estimated at least at $180 million. Such expenses could deal a serious economic blow to private companies, which own the power reactors, and weaken the country’s economy in general.

Japan’s energy companies have submitted applications for another 19 reactors to resume their operations, but the process has been slowed down by safety checks and paperwork.

In March 2011, a strong earthquake triggered a high tsunami off the north-eastern coast of Japan. A gigantic wave hit the nuclear power plant Fukushima-1 that resulted in the most devastating nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophe in 1986.

Some 300,000 people have been evacuated from the area, while over 15,000 people died in the disaster. Another 1,600 deaths as of August 2013 were related to the evacuation conditions.

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