Search AP News:
Oct 25, 9:50 AM EDT

Japan finds costs are ballooning for dismantling Fukushima

Archery on horseback still draws crowd
Ainu Rebels reclaim cultural pride
Japanese defend whaling tradition
Japan deals with 'Minimata Disease'
Latest News
Philippine leader's meeting with Japan emperor canceled

Japan, US, S. Korea agree to step up pressure on N. Korea

Younger brother of former Emperor Hirohito dies at age 100

Seoul plans to restart talks on military pact with Tokyo

Japan finds costs are ballooning for dismantling Fukushima

Nuclear plants that have leaked tritium
Not enough money to close old nuclear plants
How a nuclear power plant works
Latest News
Russia to destroy all of its chemical weapons by end of 2017

Hackers: emails show ties between Kremlin, Ukraine rebels

Russia drops Spain ship refueling request amid NATO uproar

Russia's top security official wants closer ties with Serbia

Montenegro PM hints Russian connection in coup attempt

Putin to Kremlin journalists: US is watching you

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's estimate of dismantling the Fukushima nuclear plant is ballooning far beyond the utility's estimate of 2 trillion yen ($19 billion).

A government study released Tuesday found decommissioning the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant already has cost 80 billion yen ($770 million) over the last three years.

The plant suffered multiple reactor meltdowns due to damage from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The ministry overseeing nuclear power said the decommissioning costs will continue at several hundreds of billions of yen (billions of dollars) a year.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operated and is now decommissioning Fukushima Dai-ichi, has said decommissioning will take several decades.

Even if it were to take 30 years at an estimated annual cost at 300 billion yen ($3 billion), both conservative projections, the cost would be nearly 1 billion yen or $100 billion.

TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki declined comment on the government projection, but he acknowledged TEPCO was still trying to determine what exactly the decommissioning effort might involve.

"It is difficult to calculate the entire cost for the decommissioning," he said, adding that the 2 trillion yen figure had so far taken into account the effort to remove the nuclear debris, taking the example of Three Mile Island in the U.S., as well as costs and equipment needed to keep the reactors stable.

The study did not distinguish between costs borne by the government and borne by TEPCO, which received a government bailout.

Japan has been struggling to clean up parts of the no-go zone to put the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl behind it.

The government has estimated that decontaminating the areas around the Fukushima plant, including removing radiated topsoil, buildings and trees, will cost at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).

But experts have been warning that such estimates may be too optimistic. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima displaced about 150,000 people.


Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at

Her work can be found at

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.