Japan’s government has given a revised estimate as to the cost of cleaning up radioactive contamination associated with the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011.
Compensation for the disaster along with nuclear decommissioning costs have risen to more than $177.51bn, according to the Nikkei business daily. The original estimate was for $50bn.
The majority of the money will go towards compensation, with decontamination taking the next biggest slice. Storing the contaminated soil and decommissioning are the two next greatest costs.
A deeper look at the data provided, shows that the use of imported fossil fuel power is an additional factor in the costs around Fukushima.
The 2014 Annual Report on Energy, published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), shows that Japan depended on imported fossil fuels for 88 per cent of its electricity in fiscal year 2013, compared with 62 per cent in fiscal 2010, the last full-year before the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. With almost its entire nuclear fleet offline, Japan reliance on fossil fuels peaked in fiscal year 2012 at 92.2%.
The cost of those additional fossil imports to date is well in excess of the total predicted costs of decontamination, storage and decommissioning.
The BBC reports that it is still unclear who is going to pay for the clean-up after the government initially said owners Tokyo Electric Power would be responsible for payment.
On Monday Tepco admitted that electricity consumers would be forced to pay a portion of the clean-up costs through higher electricity bills, but this has caused controversy, with critics saying this is effectively a tax on the public to pay the debt of a private electricity utility.