Call a friend: Tepco seeks government help amidst rising Fukushima nuke plant costs

Bankruptcy nightmares start threatening the utility.

Japan's biggest utility just pushed the panic button and turned to the government for help in avoiding bankruptcy in the event that a steep rise in the ill-fated Fukushima nuclear reactor's clean-up and decommissioning costs.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s president Naomi Hirose referred to the cry for help as 'structural assistance' and emphasised that Tepco does not want financial assistance. Rather, what they need is a plan to avoid bankruptcy when they start dismantling the reactors.

"We don't want to receive national rescue measures but want to bear the Fukushima responsibility ourselves," Tepco president Naomi Hirose told a government panel, according the panel chief, Kunio Ito, a professor at Hitotsubashi University.

Decommissioning takes around 40 years, and Tepco is five and half years into the process.

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