Utilities unreceptive to shareholders’ proposals to phase out nuclear power via The Mainichi

Proposals to phase out nuclear power were rejected at general shareholders’ meetings held at nine of the country’s 10 utilities on June 26.

With Japan’s new nuclear standards set to take effect July 8, and the government’s enthusiasm for resuming operations of idled nuclear reactors around the country, Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. have also voiced a willingness to restart their reactors at an early date.

As Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) shareholders arrived at a gymnasium in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward where the shareholders’ meeting for the operator of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was to take place, they were welcomed by anti-nuclear activists holding placards.
With the exception of Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s shareholders’ meeting, some shareholders submitted proposals for the utilities to pull out of nuclear power and abandon reactivation. The Osaka Municipal Government, a shareholder at Kansai Electric, proposed a “swift abolition of nuclear plants.” It is highly likely such proposals will be rejected, however, as utilities have already expressed objections.

Thermal power generation to compensate for the long-term halt of the country’s nuclear reactors has raised fuel costs, resulting in consolidated losses for eight utilities — the exception being Hokuriku Electric — for the financial year ending in March 2013. The utilities, save for TEPCO and Hokkaido Electric, proposed dipping into cash reserves set aside for harsh financial situations, and of these, Tohoku Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric, and Kyushu Electric proposed using their entire reserves.

The utilities all apologized to their shareholders for their declining performance, and sought their understanding for rising power bills and management’s improvement efforts.

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