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Japan utility gets $12.8B nuclear crisis bailout

Associated Press
International Atomic Energy Agency group head Sujit Samaddar, second from left, and other  experts inspect the heat exchanger at the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Tuesday, July 31, 2012. The 20-member IAEA mission, first at the Onagawa nuclear power plant, about 120 kilometers (74 miles) north of Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, since the crisis, aims to find out the extent of damage at the plant from the magnitude 9.0 quake. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

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TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese utility that operates the nuclear power plant sent into meltdown by last year's tsunami received a trillion yen ($12.8 billion) public bailout Tuesday, effectively putting it under government control.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. apologized for the "inconvenience and anxiety" from the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan, and for raising electricity charges to cover the costs of dealing with the crisis.

The company still faces massive compensation demands from those forced to evacuate and whose land and products were contaminated by spewing radiation following the disaster that began March 11 last year.

TEPCO must also shoulder the enormous costs of decommissioning three reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi that went into meltdown.

It must also put into safe storage nuclear fuel at a fourth reactor that is sitting in a less protected pool for spent-fuel rods after it was taken out of containment for a routine inspection.

In May, the last of this nation's 50 working reactors got turned off, but two are now back online. Despite protests, the government is eager to restart reactors because of the ballooning cost of fuel imports.

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