national

Angry scenes as TEPCO shareholders demand end to nuclear power

46 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
Login to comment

TEPCO has argued that restarting selected reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the world’s largest nuclear power plant, is the key to ensuring the company’s survival as it battles huge costs.

Great logic!! To reduce huge costs (which were not properly calculated when this dangerous industry started doing business risk assessment), the company wants to continue highly risky operations, the future costs of which they have also not calculated. Throw fuel at the fire and just hope it stops burning.

Probably "the key to ensuring the company's survival" is to keep supporting LDP politicians so they will keep using public money to bail out a for profit corporation.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Reliance on imported fuels will undermine Japan's economy and security. Developing alternative fuel sources and renewable energy is in order. Till then, however, nuclear energy is a necessity.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

TEPCO's nuclear days are clearly over in Fukushima with its loss of the No1 plant at Daiichi the lost of 6 reactors to the nuclear disaster, although some of those reactors were/had come to the end of their life cycle and would have been decommissioned. TEPCO had plans to build two new reactors.

The nuclear disaster will cost more than ¥50 trillion to try and clean up and have it under control. But not everything can be measured in money terms alone.

TEPCO spend ¥billions, probably more than ¥100 billion rebuilding the No2 plant at Daini with its four reactors. Only 9 km south of the nuclear disaster site and due to the continued level of radiations its unlikely to get permission from the NRA for any reactor restarts. Also Fukushima will never again allow another reactor to ever run there again.

That still leaves TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant with its seven reactors and it has applied to the NRA to restart two reactors, 6&7??? but the governor of Niigata is still opposed to restarting the plant. TEPCO were unable to retrofit the venting systems on the reactors to meet the new safety standards issued by the NRA.

Even if and when the NRA decides if any reactors are safe for restarts it has previously commented that in future its unlikely more than 16-18 reactors will operate, compared with 38 on the day of the 3/11 disasters.

TEPCO and all the other reactor owning power utilities are hoping PM Abe will eventually sidestep the NRA and allow the reactor restarts even without the safety updates costing more than ¥15 trillion and with ¥45 trillion still locked into the life of the reactors the utilities will continue to pressure the gov't for restarts.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The TEPCO share price today closed up 2 yen at 421 (the daily range, 420 - 424 yen, 4 yen).

It seems the type of shareholders who were here protesting are probably not the type of shareholders who have any influence, but good on them for putting their money where their mouth is and giving it a go. I hope the share price is higher for them when they decide to cash out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Playing with fire. Only matter of time before someone gets burned.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

If the highly subsidized nuclear power industry, --whose unit per cost of electricity is THE MOST expensive, notably in Japan, ONCE the amount of money the tax payer has given them 1 to build and run their monsters and 2 to clean up after when their monster's puke, -- had itS monies diverted to geothermal, solar, wind, tidal, localised power generation... QED. The shareholders shouldn't even show their faces, they are only thinking of the gamble THEY made and have lost on. Give us our TAX money back first!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm of the opinion that Japan's economy really needs those plants back up, but I have to give some respect to shareholders willing to put their cash where their mouth is.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Idogawa, who bought TEPCO shares last year....

I understand his reasoning - that buying shares would admit him to the shareholders' meeting - but not his logic: In a market economy, failed policy is punished by unloading shares, not buying them. Apparently, most investors still believe TEPCO has a feasible future.

If you want to protest, go after the government subsidies, I'd say.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yeah, well, what sort of an idiot would invest billions of dollars on nuclear power in one of the world's most earthquake and tsunami prone countries and then, let them run past their use-by date and ignore safety procedures and upgraded technology? However, there were plenty of protests way back when they decided to build all these plants, but that was back in the days of total governmental whitewashing (not much has changed). Sadly, I do agree (to some extent) that Japan does need to get a few of these reactors back online for the sake of the economy, but any savings made should be invested in renewable energy sources and not used to promote more nuclear power, but the few reactors that will eventually be allowed back online will make very little difference to offset the price of fossil fuels. Japan has the workforce and the technology to become a world leader in renewable energy, but instead, they are the focus of the world's angst against nuclear power. The technology exists to have a large portion of the country running on geothermal energy. Japan also has many large rivers and lakes that can be producing hydroelectric energy. Japan only uses 3% renewable energy, which is an absolute disgrace for a so-called 'developed' country.

The really scary thing is, everyone of these reactors still faces the same risks as what happened in Fukushima whether they are online or not. They are still working, they are just not generating electricity. It would take decades to decommission them all at huge costs to the public. As a result, it's just not gonna happen and the LDP will continue to push for nuclear power to be returned to as the mainstay energy source in Japan.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

They are still working, they are just not generating electricity. It would take decades to decommission them all at huge costs to the public.

The Law requires the power utilities to set aside the cost of decommissioning a reactor which is also included the calculations of the monthly power charges for business and domestic users. The cost of dealing with the spent nuclear fuel is also suppose to be set aside.

But in the case of TEPCO which is technically bankrupt it probably no longer has the money to decommission its reactors. If that is so, the money should come from the other nuclear power companies and not from the public funds.

I think a reactor without its nuclear fuel is safe compared to when its full and operating. The No4 reactor at Fukushima was empty of nuclear fuel on 3/11 so nothing happen to the reactor but there was a problem with the over full cooling pool.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Apparently, most investors still believe TEPCO has a feasible future

Doesn't a government-backed fund designed to rescue it.....holds 54.74% of outstanding stock mean that even if every other single shareholder wants nuclear/TEPCO shut down, their votes have no weight?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@cleo thats what controlling interest is all about, if you dont have it and dont like whats happening then sell your stock. very simple.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wtfjapan, I understand that, but it wasn't my point. I was questioning Laguna's observation about what most investors believe; all it takes is one huge shareholder to determine what happens, not the majority.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Reliance on imported fuels will undermine Japan's economy and security. Developing alternative fuel sources and renewable energy is in order. Till then, however, nuclear energy is a necessity.

Not for TEPCO it ain't, old buddy. Their nuclear days are over.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you don't like what they are doing, vote with your yen--sell your shares.

TEPCO and all the other reactor owning power utilities are hoping PM Abe will eventually sidestep the NRA and allow the reactor restarts even without the safety updates

So sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everybody and their dog can see Tepco has mismanaged the Fukushima disaster from day one. Add to this their lack of compassion towards the affected residents of the surrounding area and lack of compensation. Knowing this then how could anyone back this company with the exception of the greedy shareholders and Government who have ploughed their money and the tax payers into the scheme and are now afraid they will lose out. Where did all the billions go prior to the Fukushima disaster? When you invest in something and it falls flat that is the risk you take but to attempt to start things up again in the face of what has happened is just an insult to those left homeless. I thought Japanese cared about Japanese, obviously not and as always in this new world we live in, money is the God to which we are all required to pay homage. I will be teaching my children differently! Tepco shareholders...shame on you!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

By all accounts, and by all logic which hasn't played a part in the story so far, TEPCO should be banned from ever operating another nuclear power plant and the company should be sold off, lock, stock and barrel. The Tokyo customer base would be worth a small fortune. The money could be returned to the public coffers to recover some of the trillions already given to the company.

A new company should be formed to deal with the Fukushima nuclear disaster and could be put out to international tender. All the illegal work practices, like labor contractors using several layers of subcontractors needs to end. Proper healthcare for all the people willing to work at the site and low rent accommodation also provided.

Another new company is required to deal with the tens of thousands of compensation claims, especially from the 150,000 plus nuclear refugee's.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

So embarrassing , TEPCO still a company because of links to the Government. Thousands of people displaced due to its incompetence . But subsidised and protected by the system that links the LDP to business. 3 years on TEPCO GETS millions displaced get nothing. Share holders deserve nothing. Totally wrong.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

TEPCO has argued that restarting selected reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is the key to ensuring the company’s survival as it battles huge costs.

¥190 billion profit on its current operations. Plus government coddling at the expense of taxpayers. Plus displaced people still living in temporary housing. And now the government's 'agreement' with Tepco that it guarantee a 'stable profit' for 2014 as long as it restarts the two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.

In other words, "We'll take care of these homeless people whenever we restart the reactors."

The Fukushima victims are hostage to the nuclear power mafia.

These guys in the LDP and Tepco have no shame. (I use 'guys' because I assume the LDP and Tepco do not invite women to take part in these important decisions.)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In other words, "We'll take care of these homeless people whenever we restart the reactors."

To date, TEPCO have received about ¥4.5 trillion for the monthly support payments to the victims or nuclear refugee's. Those payments will stop one year after returning to their former communities. The other compensation payments for the loss of property and belongings is estimated to be about ¥8 trillion, probably higher but that money is available now from the public funds.

The paying out of compensation or the cost at the nuclear disaster site has nothing to do with TEPCO restarting reactors or even making a profit. The liability of TEPCO, or any of the nuclear power utilities is limited under Law to about ¥120 billion even though the nuclear disaster site will need more than ¥50 trillion.

There is no reason after more than three years why the compensation should not be paid to the victims of the nuclear disaster. They have suffered enough with more than 60% of the families living in different locations or have divorced because of the stress.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

No worries about the nuclear plants restarting, since Shintaro Ishihara, in his infinite wisdom, pronounced that the 2011 earthquake and tsunami were divine punishment for Japanese selfishness, the Japanese have become less selfish, and therefore there will be no more divine punishment like this, and nuclear power will be safe!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan, and many countries, cannot survive or grow without nuclear power.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

@ANewAsia: Maybe Disillusioned actually cares about Japan and isn't willing to just look the other way from bad things here, like so many sheeples do. Your attitude borders on racism and is definitely xenophobic. Many foreigners living here, in Japan, love Japan and speak up when they see things that are bad happening.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Irrespective of what you think about nuclear power, idling plants cost money. Investing in renewable energy and building a whole new infrastructure costs even more. You can't demand that and at the same time ask for more compensation. Who is supposed to pay?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fukushima didn't happen 20 years ago, but that is how long the J Gov. has been screwing up the economy and unable to reform itself. This idea that it's needed to save the economy is just BS to keep this corrupt old boys network government in power.

Nothings changed at all. I don't trust any of those old nuke plants. Do they have any newer ones? If so, those should be brought on line first. Anything even close to its expiration date should be scraped. I don't want to see any nuclear power plants on line at all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Fellow shareholders, please support this proposal of scrapping the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant… and revitalising the site with plans for renewable energy,” she said.

Sadly some people don't do any research on the matters they are proposing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@zichi - Do you always read my mind? Haha.. you always post my sentiments and make the most sense to me. Fact not fiction.. that is how to address such issues as nuclear power disasters. Yes, compensation is an obligation that should be fully addressed by those responsible for what others have lost.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@cleo unfortunatley the democratic process can be bought when one entity buys/controls more than 50% of a company. its more like a dictatorship now with Tepco

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The fact is, Japan has no natural fossil energy resources. And has failed to do what is necessary to gain energy independence, mostly due to US pressures. One, I hope people can be rational and stop the TEPCO bashing when the problem is and always has been much like a basketball game without a referee. Of course, businesses cut corners when they can, all business.

This is why all nukes should be nationalized and yes, used with the highest standard of safety as does France and Germany. The competitive disadvantage it puts Japan at, makes it simply an unacceptable option to immediately eliminate nukes from the mix. But, there should be a clear and definitive plan to do so within 10 years, with commitments to geothermal, wind solar and wave energy. It is just a matter of manhours. The rest is sand, steel and cement. Saying we don't have enough money to do what is necessary, is like saying we don't have enough inches on a yardstick for a meter. It is paper, and the reality is we have the resources and manpower to make it happen and hopefully the patience to deal responsibly with the energy generation mix in the meantime, without sending Japan into an economic death spiral by overreacting.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Bryan E Hall

Following the 3/11 nuclear disaster, Germany decided to shut down some of its nuclear plants, 8 out of 17? And will also decommission the remaining ones too? France is also reducing the number of nuclear plants.

Following the 3/11 nuclear disaster and the many lengthy investigations and reports on the cause of the nuclear disaster, all the countries with reactors decided to check them them for safety. All were below the international requirements and in the EU there are a large number of reactors which will need many billions of euro to try and retrofit the reactors and update the safety.

It seems that power utilities in Japan which own the reactors are not the only one which put profit before safety?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Well stated Nichii. All nuclear power is not safe! The biggest problem is the waste produced. Japan has thousands of tons of it that they are juggling between prefectures to see who will accept it for the biggest wad of cash. The US were dumping it in the deep ocean. They were using containers that would last for 150 years, even though the waste will remain highly radioactive for a thousand years or more. Yeah, nuclear power is cheap once it is built and running, but the cost to future generations will be huge. The cost of one nuclear accident in Japan will end up costing ten times more than it cost to build the other 50 odd reactors. It is not the 1970"s anymore, it's time Japan put its technology foot forward and invested in renewable energy. Marne, they could also push for more energy conservation. I'm sure everyone remembers the huge efforts made by people directly after the Fukushima disaster, but nobody would know now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Disillusioned,

The accumulated spent nuclear fuel amounts to about 15,000 tons which is kept in the cooling storage pools at the nuclear power. Some is also in dry casks at the plants. At the processing plant in Aomori there's a further 5,000 tons.

In addition there are also about 50 tons of plutonium. About 10 tons are in the country, the rest is in the UK.

For more than 10 years, various governments have tried to resolve the long term problem of storing the spent fuel but no prefecture is willing to have it. Recently, the central government decided it will decide the location.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

until eggs and pies in the face to officials are the norm in protest of nuclear power, the money in brown bags will continue to win

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Jeff-Kingston/4129

Japan Focus has an article that pretty much spells out the forces lined up against zichi-san et al (and most of Japan). Prediction is that Japan will have npp running for the next several decades in spite of all the known dangers. Damned depressing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

TEPCO stocks are only 421.00 yen. Volume sales was 10.5 million. Some organization is buying in volume? Yesterday, it was 419 yen,

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tepco should not survived as company in the first place. that they have been put into bankruptcy is a travesty of justice. government should exist to protect citizens not big businesses who were negligent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Zichi, yes, France and Germany responsibly shut down a few reactors of similar design to check for safety problems and to upgrade measures if necessary. Exactly what Japan needed to do. Panic is never productive; people get trampled unnecessarily including a majority of Japanese people who have savings. All of your investments suffer from panic. And it did nothing to increase safety. TEPCO is highly undervalued currently, and frankly its market cap is half what it logically should be.

Instead of emotionally freaking out, why don't we do what experts agree on instead of what a majority of idiots think and FEEL. We do not manage nuclear policy as an extension of democratic vote, and we shouldn't. Some things the people simply don't and never will understand. Or do you actually think your health improves when Japan uses coal instead, or spend tens times the cost per watt for other methods and fails to prevent a single death due to panic reactions to the public outcries. If we reacted similarly to all panics, the speed limit would be 40 kph on highways. Hey, that would save lives. Fact, hundreds per year. Meanwhile, not a single protest group can link any public deaths to radiation. And very few have died who worked directly inside the Fukushima facility. Try logic, it works.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Bryan E Hall

Zichi, yes, France and Germany responsibly shut down a few reactors of similar design to check for safety problems

I can't believe that you don't know that following the 3/11 nuclear disaster Germany decided to end its use of nuclear power, It had 17 reactors and immediately shut down 8 reactors and another one will shut down at the end of 2015. The remaining 8 reactors will be shut down by 2022. All the German reactors will be decommissioned by 2022. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/country-profiles/countries-g-n/germany/

Switzerland has 5 nuclear reactors and in June 2011 parliament resolved not to replace any reactors, and hence to phase out nuclear power by 2034. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/country-profiles/countries-o-s/switzerland/

There are currently 132 nuclear reactors in operation in 14 EU member countries. Primary responsibility for the safety of nuclear power plants lies with their operators who are supervised by the national independent regulators. For its part, the Commission plans to put in place more stringent EU‑wide safety rules as a response to the Fukushima accident.

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster all of the EU's reactors were stress tested and only one passed muster which was in Finland. http://www.greens-efa.eu/nuclear-stress-tests-8192.html

The cost of updating and retrofitting all the EU nuclear reactors will be more than €25 billion. http://www.icis.com/resources/news/2013/01/29/9635893/nuclear-power-safety-upgrades-could-cost-operators-25bn/

Many of the EU nuclear reactors are in danger from flooding. As many as 12 of Britain's 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change. The most dangerous in the EU is probably France's Fessenheim nuclear power plant.

I have only really touched the tip of the nuclear iceberg.

Instead of emotionally freaking out, why don't we do what experts agree on instead of what a majority of idiots think and FEEL. We do not manage nuclear policy as an extension of democratic vote, and we shouldn't. Some things the people simply don't and never will understand.

I'm not emotionally freaking out. The Japanese experts, following the nuclear disaster decided to form a new atomic safety agency NRA to replace the failed ones, which were named as part of the reason for the nuclear disaster happening, especially in the Diet investigation which called it a manmade disaster.

The NRA investigation revealed the need to stress test all the nuclear reactors. Several failed those. The nuclear experts also decided to update or increase the level of safety required on the nuclear reactors.

The power utilities are suppose to be updating their atomic plants before applying to the NRA for a safety inspection prior to be given permission to restart reactors. To date, none have been given permission. Out of the current fleet of about 48 reactors, probably only about 18 reactors will eventually be given permission to restart. All of those decisions are made by the experts.

Japan is still unable to resolve the problem of the long term storage of the spent nuclear fuel?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The nuclear program is a failure not only nationally but also globally, It has failed to deliver on the promise of clean, safe and cheap energy promised more than five decades ago. Another busted urban myth. Today, there are more than 3 billion people living without any form of electricity.

$trillions have gone into building nuclear power plants but the construction costs of building a new plant has increased to a level, that even rich countries like Britain can no longer afford to build them, and even though they need new ones before 2020, they have asked the Chinese to build them for the country. Originally, the French were also involved but they pull out because they saw no profits at the end of the dark tunnel.

There isn't even enough uranium left to provide the nuclear fuel to much more than the current global fleet of 437 reactors.

Global nuclear energy generates about 13.5% or 372,000MW of the world power demand. The world fleet of reactors uses about 100,000 tons of uranium oxide every year. Uranium will run out in about 200 years.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Bryan, it seems only reasonable to suggest --after reading your post-- that it is in fact you that is strung high on the emotion wire, logic and nuclear power? Oxymoron of the millennia, it's a totally illogical way to generate electricity. If you aren't worried, you don't understand the problem.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The March 11th, 2011 made clear beyond doubt that geologically speaking Japan is the worst location for nuclear power generation and that Japa does not have what it takes to operate nuclear plants safely. This is the lesson Japan learned the hard way. Hoping against hope that nuclear plants will get the nod for getting back online under the pro-nuclear Abe administration, the power companies have been spending an enormouse amount of money importing fossil fuel to the point that they have been chalking up deficits for three years on end. Now is the time to turn the nation's energy policy around to get out of nuclear power on a phase-out basis and put to better use the money that goes for imported fuel , giving renewable energy a fair go right away. We have seen through the myth that nuclear power is safe and cheap.Instead of restarting idled nuclear plants we shoud give top priority to developing and nurturing technology needed to get the decommissioning of old plants building upon the painful experience from the Fukushima plant in a spirit of sharing new thcnology thus developed with the reat of the world. That will be more in keeping with the horrible history of being atomic-bombed not once , not twice, but four times. That is the moral price for Japan to pay for damaging the air, the occean, and the ground, which are a common property belonging to mankind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi,

The EU disagrees with you: "Nuclear stress tests: confirmation of high safety standards but need for further improvement"

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-1051_en.htm?locale=en

Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "The stress tests have revealed where we are good at and where we need to improve. The tests were serious, and they were a success. Generally, the situation is satisfactory but there is no room for complacency. All authorities involved must work to ensure that the highest safety standards are in force in every single nuclear power plant in Europe. For the safety of our citizens".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The EU reactors need 25 billion of € just to update the safety to international standards.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And our sky high taxes are being used to prop up this criminal organization (TEPCO). The government is forcing all of us taxpayers to become unwilling co-conspirators in horrendous crimes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually Zichi, the number was 10 to 25 billion Euro. The number of reactors was 143. So, that would be between 70 and 175 million Euro per reactor. Not small change, but not bank breaking either.

Of course, not all reactors are equal: there are some ex-Soviet reactors in the EU. They'll probably need a lot of money, so other designs will need less. In fact, if the old Sov reactors were just decomissioned, that would probaly reduce the update bill massively.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Star-viking

Like the one in Albania which does even have a containment vessel and they refuse to shut it down?

When it comes to costs like the amount needed to update the safety of the EU reactors, we all know from past experiences it will most likely be more than the double of that figure and why are the EU taxpayers the ones which will end up with the burden of the cost and not the power utilities themselves but at the same time will increase the power charges?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites