Japan to provide $12.5B to nuclear plant operator

Associated Press Modified: May 9, 2012 at 9:15 am •  Published: May 9, 2012
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TOKYO (AP) — The government approved on Wednesday a 1 trillion yen ($12.5 billion) public bailout for the operator of Japan's tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant and put it under temporary state control.

In exchange, Tokyo Electric Power Co. has appointed new management and pledged to cut costs while raising utility rates on power from its other plants as it works to stabilize the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and compensate tens of thousands of victims of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

"I hope Tokyo Electric will work to win back public trust," Economy and Trade Minister Yukio Edano said. He stressed the need for TEPCO to become more transparent amid criticism that it did not release complete and timely information about the disaster.

TEPCO has also come under fire for being unprepared for the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeastern coastline last year. The cooling systems at the plant failed, causing meltdowns of at least three reactor cores and the release of large amounts of radiation.

The plan calls for 3.3 trillion yen ($41.3 billion) of cost cuts over 10 years by TEPCO.

Still, the bailout may not be enough as compensation costs balloon.

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