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Japan eyes $49 bn nuclear compensation: report

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) May 3, 2011
The Japanese government has estimated that compensation for damages resulting from the country's nuclear crisis could reach four trillion yen ($49 billion), a report said Tuesday.

Half the money will come from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, with the rest coming from other electricity companies, the Asahi Shimbun said, without citing sources.

The came as TEPCO calculates its earnings and prepares its future budget, the Asahi said.

The Japanese government has officially refused to estimate the total liability for compensation, saying that Tokyo would not put any cap on TEPCO's burden.

The Fukushima plant was heavily damaged by the deadly earthquake and tsunami of March 11, and has since been releasing radioactive materials to the environment.

The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from their houses, businesses and farms.

Officials hope to bring the plant to a cold shutdown by the year end.

Under the envisioned scheme, once TEPCO runs out of money to pay damages claims, it would receive funding from a special financial body to be created by it and eight other power companies, the Asahi said.

The government would initially put public money into the body, which will return it over the next decade, the newspaper said.

TEPCO -- which supplies about one third of Japan's total power demand and services the Kanto region, including Tokyo -- would increase its power tariffs by 16 percent, the Asahi said.

In addition, the government believes it will cost 1.5 trillion yen to decommission the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant and 1.0 trillion yen to fuel thermal power plants to meet electricity demand, the Asahi said.

TEPCO has said it will cut jobs and sell assets to reduce costs.

earlier related report
Hannover Re says quake claims cut outlook
Frankfurt (AFP) May 3, 2011 - The German reinsurance group Hannover Re cut its 2011 profit outlook on Tuesday because of exceptional costs from first-quarter catastrophes, notably in Japan.

The group now forecasts a 2011 net profit of about 500 million euros ($740 million), a statement said, sharply lower than its previous estimate of 650 million euros.

In the first quarter of the year, earnings were hit by major disasters and net profit was divided by three from the same period a year earlier to 52.3 million euros.

Charges linked to natural catastrophes more than doubled meanwhile to 572 million euros.

Of that sum, 232 million resulted from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and 152 million from the quake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The German reinsurance company managed to make up some of that with a 10.3-percent increase in gross premiums to 3.1 billion euros and solid earnings from investments.

Hannover Re also benefited from the reimbursement of some taxes paid between 1993 and 2011, the statement said.

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Japan plans new tsunami wall at nuclear plant
Tokyo (AFP) May 2, 2011
The operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant will build a wall to defend it against future tsunamis, reports said Monday, as public confidence slipped in the government's handling of the disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) also plans to triple from about 1,000 to 3,000 the number of staff nuclear workers and subcontractors handling the crisis to reduce each individual's radiati ... read more

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