Tag Archives: TEPCO

TEPCO shareholders revolt about Fukushima

Southern Company might want to pay attention to this story about shareholders protesting the owner of the radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear plants complaining in record numbers. Or SO shareholders might want to pay attention.

Mark Willacy wrote for Australia Network News, Fukushima report prompts anger at TEPCO meeting,

Anger against the company has intensified, after it released an in-house report into the disaster, in which it denies ever hiding information and blames the Japanese Government for confusion and delays.

In its 352-page report, TEPCO also claims that on March 13, less than 48 hours after a massive tsunami slammed into the Fukushima nuclear plant, it dispatched employees to the village of Namie, just a few kilometres north-west of the plant, and right in the path of the approaching radioactive plume.

But Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie, has told the ABC’s AM that claim is a lie.

“TEPCO’s report says that on the 13th of March their employees visited our offices to explain the situation,” he said.

“We were never visited by anyone from TEPCO. Nor was the situation explained to us.

“I feel they are liars. TEPCO’s report makes me angry.”

TEPCO of course says it didn’t lie, however:

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Fukushima destroying nuclear-owning electric power utilities

The world’s worst nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan has had economic effects on nuclear-owning power utilities. What will happen to the Southern Company as Georgia Power customers and U.S. taxpayers get tired of paying for cost overruns which are already almost a billion dollars?

Erik Kirschbaum wrote for Reuters 26 May 2012, Germany sets new solar power record, institute says,

The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

And closing those nuclear plants caused German electric utility E.ON to lay off up to 11,000 staff, to take its first quarterly loss in a decade, and to cut its shareholder dividend. According to Forbes, E.ON in 2006 was the biggest electric utility in the world (and TEPCO, owner of the Fukushima nuclear plants, was number 6). In March 2012, E.ON was number 22. (TEPCO dropped from number 6 to number 45.) Southern Company (SO) jumped from number 16 in 2006 to number 6 this year, quite possibly because E.ON and TEPCO and others dropped so rapidly.

Hm, I wonder what Southern Company’s nukes, already almost $1 billion over budget, will do to SO’s ranking in Forbes’ list of top utilities? Maybe there’s a reason Moody’s called nuclear “a bet-the-farm risk”. What will SO do when this big nuclear bet goes bad? And how big a bill do Georgia Power customers and we the taxpayers want to let SO run up that we’ll get stuck with?


Exit strategy for when this big nuclear bet goes bad? –John S. Quarterman @ SO 2012-05-23

At Southern Company’s (SO) shareholder meeting, I enumerated some examples in the U.S., Japan, and Germany of nuclear gone bad, and pointed out Japan, Germany, and even Bulgaria had already or were getting out of nuclear, while Southern Company and Georgia continued to bet the farm on nuclear, and I asked what was SO’s exit strategy for when that bad bet goes bad? SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning said they had learned everything there was to learn from Fukushima, and besides Plant Vogtle is 100 miles inland where there are no earthquakes. He didn’t mention the same description applies to Chernobyl. He did say SO planned to make the U.S. nuclear industry the best in the world.

You kept using big bets and then bet the farm. Very interesting terminology.

Um, the title of SO’s corporate biography that SO was giving out in the lobby in paper, video, and audiobook formats is Big Bets: Decisions and Leaders That Shaped Southern Company. And ‘nuclear’s “bet-the-farm” risk’ is, as I mentioned, bond-rater Moody’s phrase.

He said the new Plant Vogtle units were planned for $14 billion and 10 years to build, and

…it is a big investment.

He said a company to do such a thing needed scale, financial integrity, and existing credibility of operations.

Scale seems to me a problem, since SO seems deadset on building mainframes in a networked-tablet world.

SO’s nuclear financial track record is that four nuclear plants were originally planend for Plant Vogtle at a cost of $660 million and only two were built at a cost of $8.87 billion. The new units at Plant Vogtle are already overbudget by almost a billion dollars. The Georgia Power bonds that SO CEO Fanning mentioned: aren’t they guaranteed by the $8.33 billion federal loan guarantee?

Regarding operations credibility, a year ago Vogtle Unit 1 shut down 2 days after the NRC gave Vogtle a clean bill of health. But the SO CEO says it’s all better now.

Here’s the video, followed by links to sources for the points I made:

Exit strategy for when this big nuclear bet goes bad? –John S. Quarterman
Shareholder Meeting, Southern Company (SO),
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia, 23 May 2012.
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

Here are the main points I was reading from, with links:

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