Japan’s Most Hated Outfit, TEPCO, Reports Fat Profit (From Taxpayer Bailout Money)

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

TEPCO, the utility that serves 29 million households and businesses in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and that owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant where three melted-down reactors are contaminating air, soil, groundwater, and seawater, an outfit famous for its lackadaisical handling of the fiasco and the parsimoniousness with which it doles out information – the most despised and ridiculed company in Japan reported earnings today. It was a doozie.

Instead of sending it into bankruptcy court to make bondholders and stockholders pay their share, the government has bailed it (and them) out lock, stock, and barrel. And it’s still on taxpayer-funded life support. So it was good news that revenues jumped 11.8% to ¥3.2 trillion during the fiscal first half ending September 30 – blistering hot growth for a utility with 49,000 employees in a slow-or-no-growth market!

But that was about it with the good news. It wasn’t even good news. It was based exclusively on electricity rate hikes that regulators had approved to compensate the company for the costs of running fossil-fuel power plants instead of its nuclear power plants, which remain shut down. It then inflicted those higher rates on already struggling businesses and squeezed consumers.

Sign of a booming Abenomics economy? Nope. Electricity sales volume fell by 1.7% in the first half. Among the reasons, ominously: a “decrease in production activities.” Commercial use fell 1.7% and industrial use 0.5% from the already depressed levels last year. Among large-scale industrial customers, electricity sales to ferrous metals companies suffered the most, down 6.7%, followed by sales to machinery producers, down 3.8%.

Net profit for the first half soared to ¥616.2 billion ($6.2 billion), up from a steep loss last year. But the rate hikes alone, big as they’ve been, couldn’t accomplish that. So cost cuts?

TEPCO is certainly trying to cut costs in dealing with the Fukushima fiasco, mostly by cutting corners. Efforts that produce curious results. A few days ago, for example, when it didn’t put enough pumps in place to deal with the rains from the typhoon, water contaminated with highly radioactive and toxic Strontium-90 leaked once again into the ocean. Despite all these valiant efforts at cutting corners, its “ordinary expenses” rose 1.2%. 

So where did that big fat profit of ¥616.2 billion come from? Turns out, “ordinary income” was only ¥141.6 billion, up from a loss last year. Those were the rate increases. The difference? “Extraordinary Income.”

A lot of it! So TEPCO sold some fixed assets for a gain of ¥74.2 billion, fine. But then there was an interesting, and huge entry:  ¥666.2 billion ($6.7 billion). It was the amount of taxpayer bailout money TEPCO had received during the first half. Booked as income!

After some extraordinary loss items – ¥22 billion for “extraordinary loss on natural disaster” and ¥230.5 billion for “nuclear damage compensation” – net disaster-related extraordinary income amounted to ¥413.7 billion ($4.2 billion), every yen of it from taxpayers. It became part of its net profit. What a way to make money!

These kinds of shenanigans have impact. TEPCO’s stock, which traded above ¥4,000 in 2007, skittered down during the financial crisis to land at ¥2,000 by the end of 2010. After the disaster in March 2011, the stock collapsed entirely and a few months later approached ¥100 yen – a technically bankrupt company with 49,000 employees. But since the bailout funds started pouring into TEPCO’s pocket, the stock has quintupled to ¥523.

Today, the government offered a view into the future. A panel composed of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party issued a draft report that recommended that the government, and therefore the taxpayer, step in and take control of the Fukushima cleanup and decommissioning efforts. It will be expensive and take four decades – unless the spent fuel rods in their destroyed pools ignite when the next big earthquake hits or when TEPCO screws up again, which would alter the hemisphere and eliminate any need to worry about the site.

The panel said that TEPCO must implement major internal improvements, including cost controls, and it suggested that the company may have to be broken up, partially or fully – with the good part likely going to bondholders and stockholders, and the bad part, that is Fukushima Daiichi and all associated costs and liabilities, being hung around the neck of the taxpayer.

There was urgency, the panel said. TEPCO could not manage the large amounts of groundwater that were getting contaminated daily by the reactors, and at the same time manage their decommissioning. The government would also have to figure out what to do with the nuclear waste from the site – and then pay for it as well.

The true costs of nuclear power are thus getting shuffled from the industry to the taxpayer – while bondholders and stockholders benefit.

Not a coincidence. Earlier this year, it was leaked that TEPCO had paid ¥1.8 billion ($189 million) in annual membership fees to a nuclear lobbying group in 2011, weeks after the melt-downs. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, which lobbies for Japan’s ten mega-utilities, keeps its budget secret. This was the first time the fees seeped out, offering an idea of its annual lobbying budget – whose magnitude explains in part the overwhelming power the nuclear industry has over its regulators and governments.

That power is now being exerted on the Abe administration and the legislature – not only to slough off the costs of dealing with Fukushima but also to restart the 50 surviving reactors, against strong local and national opposition.

It's not like Japan doesn't have enough problems. Buried in the Bank of Japan’s Financial System Report is a gorgeous whitewash: if interest rates rise by 1 percentage point, it would cause ¥8 trillion ($82 billion) in losses across the banking system. Banks would be able to digest it. The system is safe. But then the report tallied up the losses of a 3 percentage-point rise. Read....  What Will It Take To Blow Up The Entire Japanese Banking System? (Not Much, According To The Bank of Japan).

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Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Now the latest.

Several reports within the last couple of weeks have claimed that TEPCO has been sending down robots into the areas where the pools have separated and they aren't "coming back".  One can only imagine the level of destruction that must be present and the heat being emitted for them to be unsuccessful in obtaining any data?

As the clock ticks on.


steveo77's picture

USA Radiation Alert


NETC has been showing some high radiation CPM, some getting into full Alert basis.

This is about 10 days after the Fukushima Typhoon.

Stay out of the rain, unless you have a Geiger and can prove it safe.



Burticus's picture

A devilish ¥666 billion from the glowing tumorous sheeple for their lackadaisical parsimoiousness with the fiasco poisoning the entire north Pacific?

Not a bad return on a measly ¥1.8 billion of political contributions.

The Heart's picture

Howdy hey to all!

That good heart named Art is going to be on the radio again in about ten minutes at the link below. Listen in using your type of player for more revealing information about those evil babylonians who are behind this wickedness of population reduction, and world domination for the god, money.

Check it out now and wait for him to come on at the top of th hour.


joego1's picture

The stock will go to 0 when the thing blows.

Peter Pan's picture

If that thing blows it will be the world that goes to zero before the stock goes to zero.

hangemhigh77's picture

Well then with profits like that we can expect major disasters of nuclear plants all over Amerika soon.  And the profit will roll in.

SmittyinLA's picture

Commercial use fell 1.7% and industrial use 0.5% from the already depressed levels last year.

Among large-scale industrial customers, electricity sales to ferrous metals companies suffered the most, down 6.7%, followed by sales to machinery producers, down 3.8%.


Those are huge down numbers, in a way this is a precursor to US economic collapse caused by our "bet" on "green energy" and "green jobs", CA electricity cost 50% more than the national average, far more than the 15-20% they jacked Japanese consumers with, and CA isn't done increasing its electrical rates either, they just passed a new "energy storage mandate" aimed solely at Al Gore's Bloom Energy co. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_24331470/california-adopts-first-nation-energy-storage-plan


It would be cheaper and better for the environment to just write Al Gore a check to go away.

Dragonsgrace's picture

So it just goes to show all you skeptics, the economy in Japan is doing great.  What is there to worry about? 

shovelhead's picture

TEPCO must be doing God's work too.

Bringing folks to Jesus...one way or another.

Radical Marijuana's picture

This story symbolizes everything that is wrong with our fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems, where the best organized gangs of criminals control governments, which results in big corporations making "profits" from destroying the planet.

FLASHBACK to almost infinitely absurd EVILS manifesting:


The Thorium Dream (A half hour long documentary)

The ways that atomic energy actually developed was
the most important manifestation of those overall
ways dishonesty, backed by violence, controlled
how and WHY our civilization did what it did!

It is very interesting, and revealing, that a man
majorly responsible for a light water reactor
was also majorly responsible for designing a
thorium nuclear reactor and that he got fired
by President Nixon, for speaking out against
dangers of that light water reactor he made!

We went down paths of developing dangerous uranium
BECAUSE that could also make the weapons, as well as
making the quickest profits way back, in those days,
for those crucially concerned mega-corporations,
when the EVIL decisions were originally made ...

Starting about 8:58 mark is an introduction of


"Starting in 1945, Weinberg, & usually with Eugene Wigner,
filed numerous patents on the Light water reactor (LWR)
technology that has become our primary nuclear reactors."

At around the 11:30 mark, this documentary pointed out:
Weinberg had invented the light water nuclear reactor,
the most common kind in use today (like at Fukushima.)

Waste from that kind of nuclear reactor can make bombs.

However, in every other way, it way, way, way WORSE!!!

Wikipedia states:

Weinberg was fired by the Nixon administration,
after 18 years as the ORNL director, because he
continued to advocate increased nuclear safety.

After Weinberg spoke out against the dangers of the
light water reactor that he had designed, he got fired
by President Nixon, in 1973, and his thorium reactor
project was shut down and has never been sponsored
again, since that time, by the government of the USA.

This video says that a renewed thorium reactor project
could be started, with the right laws, & a billion dollars,
which would take enough public support to be realized.

The history of how atomic energy was developed
followed the path of least action & least morality.

At around the 21 minute mark this video discussed
how we got locked into the worst possible systems.


In the 1950s, the light water reactor was working
for use in the USA Navy's nuclear submarines, &
after the government had subsidized doing that,
General Electric and Westinghouse were able to
start using the LWR technology to make money.

They did NOT like criticisms of its safety,
and they did not want to spend money on
research and development of alternatives.

As with most aspects of "political economy,"
nuclear technologies have dead ended due to
being dominated by lies, backed by violence.

As with many other similar crazy corruptions,
the history of triumphant dishonesty poisoned
real potentials for developing better systems!

TNTARG's picture

Well, on a long enough term, no electricity will be needed.  At least for quite some time.

Parrotile's picture

Obviously the hierarchy in TEPCO have all the "right connections". Add in the well-publicised numerous Black Market / "Organised Crime" connections and it's a done deal.

Having read numerous articles on the workforce exploitation by the "Contractor chain" - i.e. Yazuka involvement, well before the disaster, it begs the question of Yazuka involvement during the construction phase too, so maybe the larger concrete structures have "extra reinforcement" of a deceased human nature??

Questioning minds might want to know . . . . .

TNTARG's picture

A quote... A thought.

"From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’ "

It' said to belong to Astronaut Ed Mitchell, Apollo 14

are we there yet's picture

Elysium has its own petty politics.

kchrisc's picture

I don't know about dragging him a quarter a million miles away, as a guillotine is usually much closer.

CheapBastard's picture

Moar Bonuses!


It's all Boooyaaah!

Down Vote's picture

I see a growth industry here

Not Too Important's picture

Yes. Billions will get growths. Most around their thyroid glands. The 'Fukushima Necklace'.

Is that what you meant?

Trampy's picture

My blog postings about Fukushima were carried by Chris Martenson for the first six months after Fukushima accident began March 11, 2011.  I was the first in the world to publish an analysis dated May 2011 showing the presence of ongoing criticalities in the slumped corium based on intermittent spikes in the I:Cs ratios of groundwater samples taken from under the reactors, which pointed at which of the three was having the most intense criticalities.  That is not supposed to happen because control rod insertion and then boron injection are supposed to prevent even the possibiliity of criticalities in slumped corium.  This was a generic safety issue properly brought before the NRC who as usual stuck their head in the sand and said ad hominem that it was impossible for me to draw these conclusions because I'm not a nuclear engineer as they all are, and if they don't know  it nobody else could know it either.  The NRC refuses to believe it, maybe because doing so would mean a huge UNREVIEWED SAFETY QUESTION for all commercial power reactors.  Even the "antis."  Arjun Makhijani refused to even consider its importance because he got fixated on a spurious high reading of Cl-35 from TEPCO that was probably bad data and irrelevant even if it was real.  Arnie Gunderson refused to believe for the first year that a reactor in "shutdown" could still  be fissioning.  Engineers and physicists can have tunnel vision just like everyone else.  Fortunately for the human race, some of us are immune to that malady.   

If there are any other atomic scientists here who have an enquiring mind, please email me using PGP at the address embedded in my Bio here. 

For some strange reason, nobody here is willing or able to use strong encryption to have private emails.  I keep asking people here to send me a simple F U but despite all the bellyaching about NSA spying on them and the bragging about having strong skills in network security and IT ... after six months of asking just anyone here to send me an email nobody has.  Are they afraid?  Glen Greenwald is no IT guru, but even he managed to use PGP to communicate with Snowden.  Why am I the only person here capable of using PGP?

Flagit's picture

If there are any other atomic scientists here who have an enquiring mind, please email me using PGP at the address embedded in my Bio here.



look for Anne at enenews. she seems to be the resident expert and is quite open to correspondence.


check the readings for your area, then check out dai-ichi.

you will of course have to understand the readings.


emersonreturn's picture



i've tried 3 times to up vote.   thank you for the links. +1 on all!

Bearwagon's picture

Can't upvote comments which begin with blockquote ...

emersonreturn's picture

thank you, bearwagon...i've been having trouble with ZH freezing, so i forgot the obvious.  sorry.

Urban Redneck's picture

I think the problem is actually the italics-- specifically the {em} html tag, but my html is so bad I can't even figure out how to write < em > without the extra spaces...

SAT 800's picture

The NRC was right; the fact that you're not a nuclear engineer means that you're hopelessly lost in space and nobody needs your "data" on "criticality" episodes or incidents, or whatever you decided to call your made up discoveries. If criticality had occured we would all know about it without your "analysis"; and of course, it didn't. And it isn't going to. There is no such material as "Corium" and using made up Kindergarten language to describe things you do not understand is not likely to attract any "atomic scientists", whatever that's supposed to mean, to your blog It's perfectly clear from your post here who or what you are; a member of a very unfortunate sub-species; the internet expert blogger alarmist who just knows, (somehow, by intuition), that something is wrong. Good luck with your page click counting; God knows there's plenty of science illiterates out there in blog land that are just worried sick. There's always Global Warming, if you can't get this nut-job story to roll.

Tall Tom's picture

All reactors are Supercritical if they are operational. The excees energy is transferred to the "coolant" to power the turbines that generate Electricity. (That "coolant" turns into Steam.)


Do you know what the word "critical" means? And I will also bet that you are absolutely clueless that "Critical Mass" is a misnomer. Actually it is the Density that is the defining characteristic. It is also dependent upon the geometry that the mass has as that affects Density.


The term "criticality" refers to a sustained Fission within the Geometry. The Reactor Cores were supercritical before the accident. The Cores are supercritical NOW.


They may not be in Extreme Geometry (which means that they would be a Bomb) but they are still Supercritical.


IT IS EVIDENTIAL that the reactor cores are supercritical NOW as they are still producing HEAT (Energy). That is an UNDENIABLE FACT.  If they were subcritical then the problem may be easier to resolve. The Cores would not be "Hot"


Do you think that the term "Hot" refers to Radioactivity or THERMAL ACTIVITY?




What is it that eludes you about the term, MELTDOWN? What do you think fries the Robots sent in to assess the damage? Can it be that the HEAT overwhelms the Electronics and COOKS THE BOARDS?


How many terms relating to HEAT do you fail to understand? "Cook", "Fry", "Melt", "Coolant", "Heat", "ENERGY" and so many others are used to describe this. Are you that damned ILLITERATE?


Go troll elsewhere. You have no clue about what you are addressing.

Bearwagon's picture

The fact that you obviously don't even know a simple fact like spontaneous fission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_fission), clearly disqualifies you to judge the severity of the accident. For your info: There is material named corium! Look here:

"Identification and assessment of containment and release management strategies for a BWR Mark I containment" : http://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/5070180

Look under Figure 4.9: "Corium/concrete Interface Temperature" on page 4-53

Or do you really think, your scientific reputation is greater than that of the "Brookhaven National Laboratory"?

I'd suggest, you learn to make correct scientific statements, before you make such a fool of yourself.

Ratscam's picture

Trampy, please provide the readers with an easy step to step introduction to PGP, how to download, install etc. Too many are not aware of this simple software privacy program, hence no mails to you.

Urban Redneck's picture

Trampy is a troll, nothing more. He's been running around posting a public key block challenging people to "figure out his email address". There is a small possibility that he doesn't actually understand how PGP encryption works, which if true, would discredit anything he has written about Fukushima.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

PGP encryption request aside.

The comment was already posted.  I was simply requesting follow-up on what was initiated to hopefully spur dialogue on a very important topic which is what ZH does so well. Don't know why it was so vital to respond with PGP. Weird.

I've reached the decision at this stage of my life that if you're not willing to take risks with "who you are" and more importantly "what you stand for" including your identity which are moral imperatives this experiment of 237 years really will be lost and pretty much already is. Probably one of the best last quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King was his speech on the war in Vietnam when he quoted Dante "that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality"...

I swear to God that the next time I hear someone in uniform in this Country tell me they've served their Country honorably I would ask them "How"? given the illegal wars and occupations there leaders have put them in and that they volunteered for over the last 13 years.  How did you make your combat situation better for yourself and the Nation you represent and more importantly the countless people we've murdered that we had no right to  given the lies and deceit that started those wars of choice?

All you have to do is look at the whistleblowers over the past 10 years that sacrificed everything to give us what we need most and that is their honor and professional integrity to the Country they swore an oath to lawfully protect and defend along with their names unlike the majority of their colleagues who are too worried about losing their job and climbing the ladder in a dead end profession that the taxpayer can ill afford and that is chock full of betrayal not only to the Country they represent but more importantly to themselves and you have your answer.


Urban Redneck's picture

What Dr. King and Dante were describing isn't neutrality it's acquiescence. Neutrality is active whereas acquiescence is passive.

Furthermore, while I do agree at an emotional level with the sentiment, the philosophy is not necessarily conducive to strategic or tactical victory in the physical world. The Shit Will Hit the Fan at some point-- and if everyone of good conscience has spoken up prior and been removed from a position of authority amongst the authoritarians, defeating them becomes significantly more difficult.

I think more people need to speak up now and prepare others, even if most people are largely indifferent, for what is almost inevitable. However, Statecraft is dirty business and defeating Statists is an equally dirty business (and very complex since there are multiple states involved at different levels with the various parties).

tempore quaeque suo qui facit, ille sapit

Tall Tom's picture

The wise do that which is timely to do.


Isn't that expressed better in English rather than in Latin?


Perhaps you may want to express that in PGP encryption?


Then you can be as ridiculous as others?


Take a good look in the mirror befor you criticize others. That is what wise men do as well.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself! …

Bearwagon's picture

Well, that's no great challenge. Just copy that keyblock into the clipboard and import it from there as certificate to get the e-mail. The PGP encrytion works just fine, I got the address in one minute. :)

Son of Captain Nemo's picture


You sound like one of the more legit bloggers that is in the know on the subject and has been following "the efforts" for convening the appropriate responses to what happened on 3/11 and hopefully building a voice and campaign to find solutions to the clean-up efforts "that haven't followed".

Would be curious what your thoughts are on the activism and ongoing efforts for finding a solution and which ones provide the best approach?

This from Dick Eastman earlier ENE which has spawned a good deal of debate, but it really doesn't matter if the NRC behind the U.S. and Japanese Government(s) continue to do what they've been doing "covering there six" in keeping a lid on the ongoing deterioration of the situation and cover up.

Not Too Important's picture

"The GE Three are three nuclear engineers who "blew the whistle" on safety problems at nuclear power plants in the United States in 1976. The three nuclear engineers gained the attention of journalists and the anti-nuclear movement. The GE Three returned to prominence in 2011 during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster."


"Nuclear Whistleblower Dale E. Bridenbaugh Speaks Out On GE, Fukushima & San Onofre Nuclear power plant engineer Dale Bridenbaugh spoke out on the role of General Electric where he was an engineer and visited the Fukushima nuclear power plant. He found systemic engineering problems with the Mark 1 reactor at Fukushima and other GE built nuclear plants of the Mark 1 series and reported this to the company and the NRC. He was retaliated against as other nuclear whistleblowers have been.

This presentation was made in Santa Cruz on October 6, 2012 and was sponsored by Nuclear Free California



Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Much obliged.

Very important players indeed and I'm familiar with what they've done in identifying the known problems but what are they doing with the "here" and "now"?

We are more than 2 years into this Odyssey and all the people and leaders of the World are witnessing from TEPCO and the Japanese Government is more hand wringing.  That and a proposal for building cooling units to freeze the soil around the containment vessels which sounds ludicrous at best.

Joebloinvestor's picture

And they say the YAKUSA don't run the country.

Not Too Important's picture
'Ties between Japan’s nuclear industry, the government, and the yakuza'


'How The CIA Helped The Yakuza & The LDP In Japan'


Son of Captain Nemo's picture

As the ever humble and compliant Japanese citizen looks at their wrist watch for there thyroid tumor to grow exponentially...

Peter Pan's picture

666 billion yen from government?

666......that says it all.