Japan mulls more than $100 million new spending on Fukushima water-crisis: sources

TOKYO Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:03pm EST

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts visit Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima prefecture November 27, 2013, in this handout photo taken and released by TEPCO. Mandatory credit. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power Co/Handout via Reuters

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts visit Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima prefecture November 27, 2013, in this handout photo taken and released by TEPCO. Mandatory credit.

Credit: Reuters/Tokyo Electric Power Co/Handout via Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is considering more than $100 million in extra government spending to handle contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, boosting the budget allocation by at least a fifth, government officials familiar with the matter said.

The additional budget allocation of between 10 billion and 15 billion yen ($98 million-$147 million) aims to accelerate work on containing leaks and decontaminating the water, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move comes less than three months after the government pledged 47 billion yen for the project.

Dealing with contaminated water at the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) facility represents only a tiny slice of the response to the Fukushima crisis, triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which caused reactor meltdowns. The clean-up, including decommissioning the ruined reactors, will take decades and rely on unproven technology.

Of the original allocation for the water crisis, 21 billion yen would come from emergency reserve funds from the budget for the fiscal year to next March. The remaining 26 billion yen and the additional allocation will be covered by a supplementary budget to be drafted on December 12, the sources said. ($1 = 102.1050 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by William Mallard)

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