TOKYO — Japan’s government announced Friday that it will increase the amount of money it is providing to the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to step up cleanup and decommissioning efforts.
The interest-free loans provided to Tokyo Electric Power Co. will be increased to $90 billion, up from about $48 billion, according to government-adopted guidelines.
Originally, TEPCO was to be liable for all costs stemming from the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. But in September, the government decided to provide financial help after a series of radioactive water leaks and other problems triggered public concern about TEPCO’s ability to manage the situation.
The government is immediately allocating nearly $480 million to deal with growing amounts of radioactive water at the plant, as well as the decommissioning of its three melted reactors. Additional cleanup projects are expected to be funded through a national public works budget, media reports say. The decommissioning is expected to take decades and require expertise from around the world.