The crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is expected to cost from 5.7 trillion yen (about $70 billion) to 20 trillion yen or higher over the next 10 years, a private research institute report said.
The estimate, which does not include compensation for damage to the agriculture and fishery industries by contamination, is seen as optimistic.
The figures were included in a report submitted May 31 by the private Japan Center for Economic Research to the Japan Atomic Energy Commission of the Cabinet Office.
The calculation assumes the central government or Tokyo Electric Power Co. will buy up land within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant at a fixed rate, as no estimates have yet been made for the cost of decontaminating soil in off-limits areas.
The land purchase cost was estimated at 4.3 trillion yen, based on appraised values. Compensation for lost incomes by residents forced to move out was assessed at 630 billion yen, based on the average income level.
In addition, the cost of decommissioning reactors at the plant will total nearly 6 trillion yen over the next 10 years if data from the U.S. Three Mile Island nuclear accident is factored in as reference. The cost could climb to 20 trillion yen if the situation is comparable to the Chernobyl accident.
Compensation for disposal of radioactive water and for removing radiation from soil, as well as to disaster-affected farmers and fishermen, is not included in the calculations.
The report says gathering funds should not be a problem if about 12 trillion yen can be earmarked for payments in the next 10 years.
To secure revenue for the cost, the report suggests suspending operations in 2012 at the spent-fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture. Doing that would free up 6 trillion yen, part of the reprocessing plant's operating cost, to use for the Fukushima clean up.
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