The Japanese government is to increase the size of the loan being granted to Fukushima operator Tepco to $123bn, more than a third higher than initially planned.

The interest free loan is to cover the costs for compensation and decontamination areas around the plant, according to Reuters.

The spiralling costs of the clean-up threaten the very existence of Tepco, while also compromising its ability to clean up its wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Engineer at Fukushima nuclear power plant
Three reactors melted down at the plant after a magnitude 9 earthquake in March 2011, which sparked a tsunami that devastated a large section of Japan’s northeastern coastline.

More than 15,000 people were killed in the natural disaster, which also caused a loss of power and cooling at the Fukushima station.

Explosions in the wake of the reactor meltdowns led to a massive release of radiation that prompted the evacuation of 160,000 people from areas around the plant, many of whom will never be able to return.

Costs for decommissioning the wrecked reactors will be covered by a separate arrangement from the loan, according to the Nikkei newspaper, which earlier reported the increase in the loan for Tepco.