Tepco shares fall amid nationalisation fears

Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) fell on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in response to fears that the utility provider may be nationalised, reports the BBC.

Earlier this week the stricken power utility asked the government for an extra 690bn yen ($9bn) to help pay compensation claims.

It was also reported that Japan’s energy minister Yukio Edano asked Tepco to consider temporary state control to ease its financial burden.

“I want the [government-backed bailout] fund and Tepco to consider a comprehensive business plan without excluding any options, including temporary state control,” Edano told Tepco’s president Toshio Nishizawa.

To-date the firm has received $7.1bn in public funds, but it faces claims and costs totalling close to $100bn following the incident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

To add to its woes, the company has seen its operation costs increase after 15 of its 17 nuclear plants were forced to shutdown, and therefore relying more heavily on its thermal (both coal and gas) power stations to generate electricity.

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