Saturday, March 16, 2013
Utilities Agree On Aid For Japan Atomic Power
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Nuclear power plant operators will let cash-strapped Japan Atomic Power Co. take a temporary refund of some 40 billion yen in prepayments for fuel reprocessing.
They will also continue to provide loan guarantees for refinancing by the company, whose nuclear reactors are all offline. With no other commercial power plants, it is burning through cash.
Kansai Electric Power Co. (9503) President Makoto Yagi, who chairs the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, told a news conference Friday that utility heads had agreed on the aid measures.
Japan Atomic Power will need to "make an effort to streamline," Yagi said.
Nuclear power plant operators have made 1.1 trillion yen in upfront payments to Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. for the construction of a reprocessing plant and fuel reprocessing.
All of the contributors have consented to a temporary refund for Japan Atomic Power. Yagi said they will also consider buying out Japan Atomic Power's ownership stake in Japan Nuclear Fuel.
Japan Atomic Power "is important for the development of the nuclear power business, and we intend to support it," Yagi said.
But the refund will provide only limited relief. And even with new loan guarantees, "if things remain as they are, the problem will return a year from now," Yagi acknowledged.
(The Nikkei, March 16 morning edition)