Official: Tepco has failed at Fukushima, no progress made — Tepco to change name, start new business — Tepco demands nuclear workers return payments, anger passed tipping point

Published: January 11th, 2014 at 7:49 pm ET
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Mainichi, Jan. 9, 2014: [TEPCO] plans to create a new brand name under which the utility will sell electricity in regions outside its own service area across the country as part of efforts to boost its earnings, it has been learned. [...] TEPCO made the decision apparently because the beleaguered utility thought that clients could accept the service more easily if it were provided under a brand name other than TEPCO [...] One of the main reasons why TEPCO is rushing to enter into the business of selling electricity throughout the country is that unless it boosts its earnings by increasing the number of its clients, it will not be able to secure enough funds to cover the costs of dealing with the Fukushima nuclear accident [...]

Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 10, 2014: Previously, these issues [i.e. Decommissioning, controlling radioactive water, land contaminated by radioactive fallout] were left entirely in the hands of [TEPCO] [...] “The coming several years are crucial,” [Hajimu Yamana, the expected leader of government's new decommissioning division] said. “If we crawl along as we have done, radioactive contamination will spread to groundwater and the sea. We have to pick up our pace.” [...] TEPCO has failed to make progress in decommissioning the reactors and dealing with leaks of radioactive water at the plant. [...]

Mainichi, Jan. 10, 2014: The employee was among those who worked on the front lines immediately after the onset of the nuclear disaster in March 2011, Amid high levels of radiation, the employee and his colleagues trembled with fear as they worked to contain the unprecedented nuclear plant disaster [...] he received a letter from TEPCO last spring asking him to return part of the compensation he received from the utility [...] “That can’t be possible,” he thought, and read the letter over and over again. [...] He shed tears of frustration and suffered sleepless nights. His coworkers had also received similar documents. A gloomy, depressing atmosphere prevailed, significantly undermining workers’ morale. [...] suspension of compensation payouts to employees [started] in 2012 and the demand to return compensation in spring 2013 [...]

Mainichi, Jan. 6, 2014: [TEPCO] is demanding that the families of employees return compensation [...] In one case, a household is under pressure to return more than 30 million yen in damages from the company, raising concerns about future livelihoods. [...] According to the sources, one TEPCO employee under pressure to return compensation was living with his wife and two children in a rented house in an area near the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant — where it has been deemed that evacuees are unable to return home in the foreseeable future with an annual radiation dosage of over 50 millisieverts. [...]

Mainichi, Jan. 4, 2014: [TEPCO employees] have been asked to return compensation payments, with the total amount exceeding 100 million yen. One employee said, “Around 100 employees have had their compensation payments stopped, and many of them have been asked to return money.” In October, TEPCO held a meeting in Fukushima Prefecture between company executives and employees. In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun, an employee says, “Asking us to return the money sent to us has made everyone’s anger breach the tipping point.”

See also: 'Nuclear Slaves' at Fukushima: Workers have debts paid off, forced to stay as 'indentured servants' -- Foreign workers may soon be needed at plant, official reveals

Published: January 11th, 2014 at 7:49 pm ET
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