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Briefly: Cost doubles for cleanup at Fukushima nuclear plant
Question of the Day
TOKYO — The Japanese operator of the nuclear power plant devastated in last year’s disasters is seeking more government financial support, saying the cost of the cleanup could be double the $62.5 billion allocated so far.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. made the appeal in a management “action plan” it presented Wednesday.
Tepco, its finances wrecked by the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan and the closures of other nuclear plants, has received a $12.5 billion bailout and was put under government ownership.
Pressed repeatedly for an estimate of exactly how much it will cost to decommission the crippled plant and pay costs for decontamination and damages, Tepco President Naomi Hirose said it was impossible to know.
In a statement, the company outlined two potential scenarios, one involving costs of some $125 billion that it said would make it difficult for Tepco to raise funding from private lenders and oblige it to seek further government financial support.
The massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 severely damaged four reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant north of Tokyo, knocking out cooling systems and triggering radiation leaks. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
No evidence that murdered British man was a spy
BEIJING — A top Chinese leader said Thursday that there is no evidence the British businessman whose murder became part of a major political scandal was a spy.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, who was put in charge of the megacity of Chongqing in the scandal’s wake, also rejected the notion that his predecessor, the now-purged leader Bo Xilai, had left any positive legacy in his administration of the city.
Responding to reporters’ questions, Mr. Zhang belittled what was once heralded by the Chinese media as the “Chongqing Model” — a code phrase for the populist crime-fighting and social policies that made Mr. Bo beloved with his region’s poor.
Mr. Bo has been accused of violations ranging from corruption to involvement in covering up his wife’s role in the murder of Neil Heywood. Mr. Zhang said he did not know when Mr. Bo would be put on trial.
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