Tohoku Electric Shelves Plan to Build Nuclear Plant in Fukushima

Tohoku Electric Power Co., power supplier to the areas most devastated by 2011’s quake and tsunami, scrapped plans to build a new nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture amid opposition from local towns.

The Miyagi-based utility widened its net loss forecast for the year ending March 31 to 105 billion yen ($1.1 billion) from an earlier projection of 100 billion yen after dropping the 825 megawatt Namie-Odaka plant, it said in a statement today. The company will book about 18 billion yen as a one-time charge for this fiscal year because of the cancellation, it said.

The Fukushima government pledged to end its dependence on nuclear power after the magnitude-9 quake and ensuing tsunami caused meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station, forcing about 160,000 people to evacuate. Namie town and Minamisoma city lawmakers had called for abandoning the plan to build the Namie-Odaka reactor in their neighborhood, according to the utility.

Before the Fukushima disaster, the utility had planned to start operations of the Namie-Odaka plant in fiscal 2021. Construction was scheduled to start in fiscal 2016 under the earlier plan, it said in a statement today.

Tohoku Electric reaffirmed plans to build the No. 2 reactor at its Higashidori nuclear plant in a power plant development plan released today while noting that it’s “uncertain” when construction and operations will begin.

“We still believe nuclear is a necessary source of electricity,” Takashi Suzuki, a Tohoku Electric spokesman, said by phone today. The utility will work on restarting idled reactors at Higashidori and Onagawa plants, he said.

The utility expects to restart the No. 1 Higashidori reactor in July 2015 and the Onagawa plant as early as April 2016, it said in February.