TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co plans to shed more than 1,000 jobs via voluntary retirements by the second half of 2014, sources told Reuters, as it seeks to win more financial aid to clean up its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Tepco is working on a reorganization plan to fend off more drastic proposals, including possibly dragging the company through bankruptcy in return for a publicly funded clean-up and shutdown of its Fukushima reactors.
The government has already agreed to spend 47 billion yen ($468.7 million) on dealing with some 1,000 tanks of radiated water at Tepco’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami two years ago.
Japan’s government is also considering paying part of the cost to decommission Fukushima’s damaged nuclear reactors, and restructuring could help Tepco secure more government aid.
The utility hopes to secure 500 billion yen in funding from banks by the end of the year and hopes staff cuts will encourage banks to agree to the funding.
Tepco has been telling banks that it can return to an operating profit if it restarts two reactors at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa facility by fiscal 2014, sources have also told Reuters.
Three reactors suffered core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant north of Tokyo after the March 2011 disaster that triggered explosions and forced the evacuation of 160,000 people from nearby towns and villages.
Tepco, which has floundered in trying to bring the plant under control in the two and a half years since the disaster, is now moving to full decommissioning at the six-reactor facility.
Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Michael Perry