Chubu Electric increases financial estimate for post-Fukushima upgrades at Hamaoka

The tsunami countermeasures at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station that Chubu Electric Power announced on July 22, 2011, have subsequently undergone more review to ensure accuracy which has lead the utility to increase the estimated costs for upgrades.   Work will include switching overhead sliding delivery bay doors to hinged double doors and strengthening the watertight areas. Chubu Electric Power Co. is finishing the foundation for an 18 meter wall at the Hamaoka plant, which was shut down last year over estimates that that it faces about a 90 percent chance of being hit by a magnitude 8.0 or higher quake within 30 years.

The upgrades will also boost the number of onsite turbine generators from three units to six.  Chubu Electric Power Company, Japans third-largest utility, has announced it will spend over 1.7 billion USD on tsunami protection upgrades in an effort to restore public faith in nuclear power in Japan.  The utility said it expected to complete the anti-tsunami measures by end of the year.

In February Chubu Electric announced it did not plan to purchase more Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for the 2012 year than it did in 2011, even though they do not know when its nuclear plant will restart.  The utility did not release any details related to how they expected to produce enough power to meet demand if the reactor was not allowed to restart in the near-term.  The utility was forced to ask Japan’s three megabanks for loans totaling around 250 billion yen to meet financial needs in fiscal 2012. The utility will use the sum to cover fuel costs, which have been rising due to the suspension of operations at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and redeem corporate bonds in fiscal 2012 to March 31, 2013.

Electric power companies in Japan are more reliant than ever on bank loans, as the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant has lowered their creditworthiness so much they cannot raise funds from the corporate bond market.   Many in Japan feel that it is inappropriate to discuss restarting the nations’ idled reactors until the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is closely examined.

A lawsuit seeking the decommissioning of the reactors at the Hamaoka plant permanently was filed after the reactors were ordered taken offline by the Naoto Kan administration due to their location on a major fault zone.

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