TOKYO - Japan's government is considering taking control of the nation's nuclear power plants away from private utilities, in a bid to improve accountability of the industry, the Yomiuri
newspaper reported on Friday.
The move comes as Tokyo Electric Power Co has fallen under criticism for its handling of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant triggered by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
"Japan should avoid a situation where private companies own nuclear power facilities and only enjoy the benefits (of low running costs) when the state takes care of compensation and decontamination arising from nuclear accidents," Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who oversees energy policy, was quoted as telling the paper.
Edano also said the government must reach a clear decision on whether private companies should pay massive insurance fees and operate nuclear power facilities or hand over the benefits to the state, which also would take on the risks of nuclear accidents, according to the paper.