Nuclear disaster compensation fund approved in Japan

Japan's parliament approved a plan to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) compensate victims of its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant. The plan was passed with support from both the government and opposition.

The BBC reported that a new fund will be set up to pay damages to victims affected by the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Other nuclear power plant operators in Japan will make annual contributions to the fund. The government is expected to put $26 billion into the fund initially.

In return for the government’s initial payment, TEPCO must restructure the company and allow the government to take over for an unspecified number of years.

TEPCO, which reported a loss of $15 billion earlier this year, reportedly may have to pay more than $100 billion in compensation to about 80,000 people and business owners who were forced to evacuate.

TEPCO on August 1 and 3 reported high levels of radiation detected near units 1 and 2. Officials said an exhaust pipe could be the cause.

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