Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper has reported that the Japanese government is looking to nationalize the nation’s nuclear power plants. Trade and industry minister Yukio Edano announced the still unfinalized decision which is being considered in the wake of the response to the Fukushima Nuclear disaster. Nuclear plants in Japan benefit from lower operating costs thanks to the government but officials say they need to claim more responsibility when disasters occur.
Government officials are deciding between nationalizing the nuclear power plants and taking responsibility for disasters or making electricity providers pay higher premiums on insurance to pay for the problems that occur. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) — the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant — was blamed for inaction and poor handling of the nuclear disaster that occurred after the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
As recently as last month Tepco and the Japanese government were being ridiculed by international nuclear specialists for declaring a cold shutdown at the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors even though the reactors weren’t anywhere close to being stabilized. If the government does nationalize the nuclear power plants they would buy out 2/3 of Tepco and would spend a reported $13 billion to complete their plan. Tepco officials have said that this report is not factual despite Trade and Industry minister Yukio Edano’s statements.