The nation’s nine utilities with nuclear power plants had to spend a total of about ¥1.4 trillion last fiscal year to maintain their idled reactors, financial statements showed Monday, revealing part of the reason that electricity rates went up.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. restarted a reactor last week despite strong public opposition, adding to the view the utilities are trying to reactivate their idled plants as soon as possible to help rehabilitate their balance sheets, which are also suffering from rising fuel costs for alternative power generation.
All of the country’s commercial reactors remained offline in fiscal 2014, which ended March 31, amid heightened safety concerns following the 2011 crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 complex.
Tepco spent the most — ¥548.6 billion — having to maintain the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear complex, which is located about 10 km south of Fukushima No. 1, and the massive Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture.
Kansai Electric Power Co., which relied heavily on nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster, spent ¥298.8 billion, while Kyushu Electric spent ¥136.3 billion.
Last week, a reactor owned by Kyushu Electric became the first to come back online under upgraded regulations introduced after the Fukushima meltdowns.
Five of the nine companies — Tohoku Electric Power Co., Tokyo Electric, Chubu Electric Power Co., Hokuriku Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric — also had to pay some ¥130 billion to Japan Atomic Power Co. to honor their contracts with the entity, even though their reactors were idle.