Report: Japan's nuclear operator set for $13b. bailout

January 26, 2012 06:53

TOKYO - Japan is set to launch a $13 billion bail-out of the owner of its stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant after the utility dropped resistance to a public fund injection, sources said on Thursday, as the country debates the future of nuclear power.

The injection of 1 trillion yen ($12.8 billion) in public funds into Tokyo Electric Power Co would effectively nationalize the firm, supplier of power to almost 45 million people, in one of the world's biggest bailouts outside the banking sector.

Tepco's Fukushima plant was wrecked by a quake and tsunami last March, sparking the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years and swamping the firm with future cleanup, decommissioning and compensation costs estimated at $100 billion or more. But it had been resisting a bail-out, fearing a loss of management control.

It is now resigned to the state rescue, but sources familiar with the matter said it was still dragging its feet over the form of bail-out, with the government proposing that the state-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund take a two-thirds share, which would let Tokyo make the key decisions.

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