November 30, 2011 / 10:55 AM / in 6 years

Fukushima gov calls for no nuclear reactors in area

* Governor wants all 10 reactors in Fukushima decommissioned

* Move would wipe out more than half Tepco’s nuclear capacity

* Public faith in atomic power decimated by crisis at Tepco plant

By Risa Maeda

TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The governor of Fukushima on Wednesday called on the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) to decommission all nuclear reactors in the Japanese prefecture, as the crisis at the utility’s atomic plant there rumbles on.

Such a move would wipe out more than half of Tepco’s nuclear generation capacity at a time when utilities are trying to rebuild public faith in atomic power following the leakage of radioactive materials at the Fukushima Daiichi plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“We’ve decided to state clearly in our reconstruction plan that we will demand the nuclear power operator and the central government decomission all the reactors in our prefecture,” Governor Yuhei Sato was quoted by a prefecture official as saying at a news conference.

Tepco, which supplies Tokyo and surrounding areas, has said it would decomission the four most damaged reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi plant. But it has another six reactors in the prefecture, about 200 km north of Tokyo, which it would like to keep running once their restarts are approved.

The nuclear operator’s direct supervisor is the country’s nuclear watchdog, but it has an agreement with the prefectural government to consult with it on operating atomic reactors there.

Tepco, the sole utility that operates nuclear plants in Fukushima, has set aside 940 billion yen ($12 billion) to decomission the critical four Fukushima Daiichi reactors, and such costs could more than double if it is forced to abolish the remaining six units, with total capacity of 6,284 megawatts.

Higher costs could affect the government’s plans to help the troubled utility to pay compensation for damage from the nuclear crisis and also raise electricity bills.

The crisis has prompted a review of Japan’s energy policy and raised questions about how government officials and industry will deal with the prospect of economically painful power shortages that could stretch into 2012.

$1 = 77.8050 Japanese yen Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Joseph Radford

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