Embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co. will delegate more authority to its office in Fukushima Prefecture to speed up compensation for nuclear disaster victims and cleanup of contaminated areas.
The company decided to set up a Fukushima headquarters, probably early next year, after facing criticism for slow decision-making and insufficient post-disaster efforts.
“TEPCO can never rebuild itself unless it gains the trust of Fukushima by fulfilling its responsibility in dealing with the nuclear accident,” President Naomi Hirose has said.
The plan will form a pillar of the company’s new management policies, to be announced soon.
TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, already has a division in Fukushima Prefecture to support compensation for evacuees.
But its efforts have disappointed local government officials and residents because important decisions have been made at the head office in Tokyo.
Divisions in charge of compensation and other disaster-related issues, now divided in Tokyo and Fukushima, will be consolidated in Fukushima Prefecture.
TEPCO will assign 500 additional employees to increase the number of workers in those divisions to 4,000, and a senior official equivalent to an executive vice president will lead the operations in the prefecture.
TEPCO will delegate authority in personnel and budget allocation so that decisions can be made locally on issues related to the containment of the accident and evacuation.
The number of employees engaged in decontamination efforts, which soon start in earnest, will be increased from 100 to 300.
In addition, all TEPCO employees, or 38,000, will help evacuees by staying in Fukushima Prefecture for an extended period two to three times a year.
A research facility will also be set up in the prefecture to enhance technologies for decommissioning reactors, and required personnel will be nurtured.
Under the rehabilitation plan compiled in May, TEPCO said it will reduce 3.365 trillion yen ($42 billion) in costs in 10 years. The company plans to expand the cut by more than 100 billion yen in the new management policies.
(This article was written by Kentaro Uechi and Hiroshi Takata.)
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