Tokyo Electric aims for July restart of nuclear plant -media
TOKYO Nov 6 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear station, will propose restarting another of its atomic plants next July in a new business plan to be released in December, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The indefinite closure of the firm's Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the world's biggest nuclear plant, has saddled it with high fossil fuel costs as it flounders with a fraught clean up at the Fukushima Daiichi station, which had three reactor meltdowns after a quake and tsunami in 2011.
The company, known as Tepco, is rewriting a business revival plan following $27 billion of losses from the disaster, which included restarting reactors at the Kashiwazaki station northwest of Tokyo as a central element. But it faces an uncertain future as the government has threatened to split it up.
Tepco will outline to its creditors as early as mid-November projected incomes and expenditures based on the revised restart plan to get approval for a new loan worth 300 billion yen ($3.04 billion), the Yomiuri said, without citing sources.
The restructuring plan will list July 2014 as the target restart for the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at Kashiwazaki, as well as plans to restart the No. 1 and No. 5 reactors at the plant, the Yomiuri said. In its earlier plan, Tepco had hoped to restart the first unit from April this year.
The utility in September filed an application to restart two of the plant's seven reactors.
But the regulator Nuclear Regulation Authority has said Tepco needs to prioritise cleanup efforts at the Fukushima plant before working to restart Kashiwazaki.
A Tepco spokesmen told Reuters that the company had not finalised the plan, adding that a restart date remained uncertain due to ongoing safety assessments and the need for local government backing.
Even if Tepco wins approval from regulators, it faces high hurdles as the local governor, who can block the restart, has said the utility must give a fuller account of the Fukushima disaster before restarting Kashiwazaki.
Japan plans to start up 14 new gas and coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014, allowing a switch away from pricey oil, as Tokyo struggles with the shutdown of nuclear reactors and energy imports drive a record trade deficit.
($1 = 98.5450 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Aaron Sheldrick and Joseph Radford)