Radiation levels around Fukushima tanks continue to rise
Radiation levels around tanks holding contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power's (TKECF.PK) crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have spiked to 2,200 millisieverts (mSv) from 1,800 mSv on Sunday. Either level would be enough to kill an unprotected person within hours.
A major problem is that the tanks are leaking huge amounts of contaminated water into the sea and into the surrounding groundwater.
Yesterday, the government said it would take charge of the 2 1/2 year clean-up process and provide almost $500M for two big projects — a ring of frozen ground to protect groundwater from radiation and a plant to filter out radioactive elements.
However, there is a long list of other expensive tasks that need to be carried out. The question is whether the government will provide the necessary money.
Japan intervenes in Fukushima disaster with money, manpower
Japan's government will provide money and personnel to help cope with rising amounts of contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant after losing confidence in Tepco's (TKECF.PK, TKECY.PK) ability to handle the situation on its own.
The trade minister says the latest leak of 300 metric tons of highly contaminated water "could have been prevented" if Tepco had been more careful, pointing out that the 1,000 tons/day of groundwater flowing into the site presents a serious problem.
Tepco's deal to import liquefied natural gas from the proposed Cameron LNG project (SE) in the U.S. starting in 2017 could have wider repercussions in the global LNG market by helping break the link between oil and LNG and eventually helping to bring world LNG prices down, Macquarie Research says. The project in Louisiana has yet to gain the government's approval for export.
A tsunami of 1 meter in height hits Japan's Miyagi prefecture following a 7.3 magnitude earthquake, while Tokyo Electric says it hasn't detected irregular radiation levels at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. You can find regular updates of the story here or on Twitter here.
Tepco reportedly is in talks with Cheniere Energy (LNG), Sempra Energy (SRE) and other U.S. energy firms to import shale gas, as it seeks to hold down fuel costs and reduce high electricity charges. Tepco was forced to raise household power rates in September, and cheap U.S. shale imports likely would allow it to reduce costs.
Chevron (CVX) signs a deal to supply additional LNG to Japan's Tepco and to sell Tepco an 8% stake in the Wheatstone natural gas processing plant and a 10% stake in the Wheatstone gas field license. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
Japanese securities regulator, the SESC, intends to ask the U.S. SEC for its help in an expanding investigation of insider trading, Reuters reports. The SESC believes Nomura may have leaked information to American investors about an offering from Tepco (TKECF.PK). JPMorgan (JPM) has already been linked to a stock sale from Nippon Sheet Glass.
TEPCO (TKECF.PK) closes down its last nuclear reactor still running in Japan, leaving the nation close to being nuclear free as it waits for the government to approve restarts amid ongoing safety concerns. Push will come to shove this summer when hot weather delivers peak energy demand that fossil fuel plants are unlikely to be able to meet.
Shareholders of Tepco (TKECF.PK) file suit against 27 current and former directors of the firm for a staggering ¥5.5T ($67.4B) to cover damages stemming from the Fukushima disaster. Though Japanese courts have set a precedent for tagging individual executives with damages for mismanagement, the size of the requested award is the largest on record.
Japan's government plans to take a majority stake in embattled Tepco (TKECF.PK) in exchange for a capital injection of 1T yen ($12.4B) in public funds. The deal gives the government voting rights that will enable to institute reforms and stricter corporate governance.
Tepco (TKECF.PK) increases it forecast for full-year losses up to ¥695B ($8.9B) from ¥600B ($7.68B) after taking on a massive aid package. The company with the 29M customers it serves in the Tokyo is playing a game of chicken with the government as it seeks an even larger bailout, according to analysts.
The FT adds to speculation that the Japanese government will put ¥1T ($12.9B) into Tepco (TKECF.PK), with the company's banks offering to match that figure at low-rated loans in return for not having to write off the utility's ¥7.8T debt. One issue is whether the government will receive control of above or below 50%.
Tokyo Electric Power (TKECF.PK) will be nationalized for 10 years and should become profitable in fiscal 2013, in a plan that will supply the company with the ¥1T ($13B) it was seeking from its creditors. The deal should be finalized by Tepco and Japan's government in March and would keep compensation payments tied to Tepco's March 11 accident flowing.
In a fierce bid to ward off a government takeover, TEPCO (TKECF.PK) turns to creditor banks to find as much as ¥1T ($13B) in new loans. If granted, the new banks will require the energy company that saw the worst-ever nuclear accident to agree not to ask for any debt forgiveness or changes to the loans' repayment terms.