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#2863 Economic realities of old reactors:40年たった原子炉の扱い Nov. 10, 2014 [76.Article Selection]

  #2861と#2862で原発をめぐる詐欺的会計基準をとりあげたが、その周辺の英文記事も二つ紹介したい。一つはこれで、もう一つは#2864で紹介する。

  原子炉の耐用年数は40年だが、それを越えた原子炉も20年間の稼動延長を政府は認めた。しかし、2011年3月の福島第一原発事故のあとで原子力規制庁の規制が厳しくなり、それに適合するように設備投資をすると採算が合わないという事情が出てきた。では廃炉にすればいいではないかということになるが、廃炉にすると原子炉建屋の解体、原子炉の解体、使用済み核燃料の再生・保管などに莫大なコストがかかる。いままでの廃炉積立金では少なすぎ、除却によって巨額の一時損失が発生する。そして、廃炉のあとは使用済み核燃料の濃縮・保管作業がまっているが、これがとんでもない高コストになる。電力は1kwも生み出さないのに、廃炉原子炉1基辺り、千億円を越す臨時損失が発生するのである。北電が泊原発を廃炉にしたら、債務超過になる。そして廃炉作業は1年で終わらない。20~30年かかる気の長い話なのである。使用済み燃料の濃縮再処理費用も巨額になる。新ウラン燃料の3倍から5倍も再処理にコストがかかるのである。これが簿外負債になっている。つまり、電力会社の決算書は粉飾決算の典型例なのだが、電気事業法に定める会計規則によって、文飾決算の典型的な手口が合法化されているのだ。ダブルスタンダードはやめて一般の民間企業が準拠している企業会計原則に一般化すべきだ。
 いままで、原子力発電のコスト計算時に現実的な廃炉費用が算入されてこなかったツケが回ってきている。冬が来るのに唄って踊ってばかりいたキリギリスのようなものだ。あの寓話は原発のために書かれたのではないか?

 再稼動をするには安全設備の強化で莫大なコストがかかるし、かといって廃炉にすれば巨額の廃炉コストが数十年かかることになる。ここにきて電力会社はにっちもさっちもいかなくなった。

 そこで、政府は電気事業会計規則を変更して、廃炉後に廃炉に関わるコストを電気料金に上乗せして回収できるようにした。
 固定資産の除却損を繰り延べるということは企業会計原則で許されていない。こんな会計処理は粉飾決算そのものである。
 仮に上場企業が損失を1000億円出したがそれを繰り延べて200億円の黒字決算を公表したら、証券取引法違反で取締役は逮捕されて刑務所送りとなる。
 粉飾決算といえばライブドア事件が記憶に新しいだろう。社長だった刑事被告人は責任を問われて服役した。ところが、電力会社には粉飾決算が電気事業会計規則の変更によって合法的な会計処理に化けてしまった。
 モラルハザードもここにきわまれりだ。

 高校生は本文をプリントアウトするといい。WORDで本文のみコピペしてからプリントアウトするといいと思う。例によって便利のために段落番号を付しておいた。弊ブログ#2861と#2862も参考にしていただけたらうれしい。
 周辺知識がこれだけあれば、英文は解説なしになんとか読めるだろう。もちろん辞書は丹念に引いてよむといい。塾生はわからない文にアンダーラインを引いてもっておいで。塾生でない人は塾生に頼めばいい。
(解説用のスペースを用意してありますので、塾生から質問があったらあとで追記します。いくつか単語の解説は後でしておきます。4段落目まで単語や句に和訳をつけておきました。後は自分でやってください、辞書を引くことも勉強の内です。)

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/09/14/editorials/economic-realities-of-old-reactors/
============================

Economic realities of old reactors

(1)  Reported moves by power companies to consider decommissioning their older nuclear power reactors indicate that they are beginning to selectively evaluate their nuclear power plants by weighing the costs of meeting safety criteria that has been tightened in the wake of the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

(2)  The government appears ready to facilitate such moves in the hope that terminating the old and more risky nuclear reactors will, in turn, help win public support for reactivating idled reactors that clear safety screening by the nuclear watchdog — the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

(3)  Both the power industry and the government need to take a realistic view of the prospect of nuclear power in this country — where currently all of its 48 nuclear power reactors are idled amid safety concerns following the 2011 disaster.

(4)  The Abe administration should follow up on its pledge to reduce “as much as possible” the nation’s dependency on nuclear power to meet its energy needs, and set specific targets, including a timeline, toward that goal so that the utilities can proceed with restructuring their power generation facilities, including scrapping nuclear reactors that will no longer be viable either for economic or safety reasons.

(5)  Recent media reports that Kansai Electric Power Co. is moving to scrap the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at its Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture — both of which began operating in the early 1970s and are more than 40 years old — were followed by a comment by trade minister Yuko Obuchi that the government would promote both the smooth decommissioning of aging reactors and the reactivation of reactors whose safety has been confirmed.

(6)  It is obvious that the government has in sight shutting down several nuclear power reactors that have become so old as to require an untenably high cost to meet the safety standards.

(7)  Under the new safety regulations introduced after the 2011 triple meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, nuclear reactors are in principle not allowed to operate for more than 40 years. Exceptions are allowed. Companies may be allowed to continue operating for up to 20 more years if they go through special inspections, including detailed checks on the decay status of their equipment such as the reactor pressure vessel — a process likely to require a major overhaul at huge cost, such as replacement of old power cables.

(8)  Meanwhile, the aging reactors introduced in the early days of the nuclear power industry typically have much smaller power output capacity than the reactors of subsequent generations, making it unlikely that their continued operation will make profits worth the investments.

(9)  Kansai Electric is not alone. In March, Chugoku Electric Power Co. President Tomohide Karita noted the company’s “option” of decommissioning the No. 1 reactor at its Shimane nuclear power plant, which began operating in 1974.

(10)  Kyushu Electric Power Co. is also reported to be weighing the possibility of not seeking an operating extension of the No. 1 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. Thirty-eight years have passed since it started up; it has the lowest output capacity among the utility’s six nuclear reactors.

(11)  Of the nation’s existing 48 nuclear power reactors, 18 are more than 30 years old. Seven reactors either have passed or are nearing the 40-year mark, and their operators need to apply to the NRA for safety screening by July next year if they plan to extend the reactors’ operation. The power companies are expected to make a decision as early as yearend on what to do with the seven reactors.

(12)  The post-Fukushima regulations require power companies to make additional investments to upgrade their plants’ resilience against natural disasters such as big earthquakes and tsunami as well as severe accidents.

(13)  Plants that are found to have active faults running under reactor buildings as a result of having the tightened standards applied to them will also face scrapping even if they have operated for fewer than 40 years.

(14)  Citing the cost of increased fuel imports to run thermal power plants and the burden of rising electricity charges, the Abe administration has pushed for reactivating idled nuclear reactors once they have been given the NRA’s safety nod.

(15)  Since July last year, the power companies have applied for NRA screening of a total of 20 reactors. Of these, only two — the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Sendai plant of Kyushu Electric in Kagoshima Prefecture — have so far been approved for the process by the NRA. It is considered doubtful that the power companies will spend the money and time needed to restart the aging reactors.

(16)  The increased cost of meeting the safety regulations raises doubts about the government’s claims of the cost advantages in running nuclear power plants instead of other energy sources. There may be cases where power companies decide to discontinue some reactors even before the 40-year limit.

(17)  Trade minister Obuchi has indicated that the government may consider measures to help the power companies scrap the aging reactors smoothly.

(18)  Since discontinuing a nuclear reactor reduces the asset value of the plant facility, its operator would need to report losses from the cut — an additional financial burden on the firms suffering from years of losses due to rising fuel costs. The trade ministry is reportedly mulling changes to accounting standards to ease the burden of the power companies.

(19)  But operators of nuclear power plants are supposed to set aside the costs of decommissioning their reactors from the profits gained from power generation at the facilities.

(20)  The government should not offer special treatment for the power companies merely because of the massive costs involved, as that would contravene economic principles and become difficult for taxpayers to support.
============================


― 解説 ― ・・・省略

(1)  Reported moves by power companies to consider decommissioning their older nuclear power reactors indicate that they are beginning to selectively evaluate their nuclear power plants by weighing the costs of meeting safety criteria that has been tightened in the wake of the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

decommission: v 廃炉する
selectively evaluate : 選択的に評価する
weighing the costs of meeting safety criteria:安全基準に適合するコストを比較衡量する
in the wake of the 2011 disaster :2011年の原子力災害をきっかけに

(2)  The government appears ready to facilitate such moves in the hope that terminating the old and more risky nuclear reactors will, in turn, help win public support for reactivating idled reactors that clear safety screening by the nuclear watchdog — the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

facilitate:v 促進する facility 設備
in the hope : ~することを期待して
help win public support:公的援助を受けるのに役立つ
for reactivating idled reactors :休止している原子炉の再稼動のために
the Nuclear Regulation Authority :原子力規制委員会(これと紛らわしいのが同じNRAと略称される原子力規制庁である。こちらはthe Nuclear Regulation Agency )

 終末期にある古くて危険が大きい休止中の原子炉は、規制庁の安全検査をクリアした順に再稼動に公的な補助金をだすと書いてある。選挙時の公約とはまるで反対のことをやりつつある。これだから政治が信頼をなくすのだ。4段落目に安倍氏が自民党総裁として原発に関してどういう公約をしたのか書いてある。

(3)  Both the power industry and the government need to take a realistic view of the prospect of nuclear power in this country — where currently all of its 48 nuclear power reactors are idled amid safety concerns following the 2011 disaster.

the prospect of nuclear power in this country :日本の原子力発電の将来見通し、ビジョン
amid safety concerns : 安全への懸念の只中で

 2011年の原発災害のあおりを食らって、安全に懸念が生じ48基の原子炉が休止中。

(4)  The Abe administration should follow up on its pledge to reduce “as much as possible” the nation’s dependency on nuclear power to meet its energy needs, and set specific targets, including a timeline, toward that goal so that the utilities can proceed with restructuring their power generation facilities, including scrapping nuclear reactors that will no longer be viable either for economic or safety reasons.

should follow up on :実行に移すべきだ
proceed with restructuring:リストラクチャリングを進める
viable:存続する

 安倍氏は自民党総裁のときに、可及的速やかにエネルギーの原発依存度を減らしていくと公約したのだから、その通りに実行すべきで、経済上もしくは安全上存続させえない原子炉を廃炉にすることを含めて、電力会社は発電設備のリストラクチャリングを進めたらいい。

 選挙の時にはあんなにはっきり原発依存を減らすと言った(即時廃棄と20年かけて耐用年数に達したものから順次廃棄していくという違いしかなかったから、再稼動なんて話はどの政党からもなかった)のに、政権をとった途端にどうして言うこともやることも180度違ってしまうのだろう。これでは政党はまるで詐欺師の集団ではないか。
 自分の政権が長く続けばいいとか、大口企業献金先である経団連の言うことを聞いてもっと献金してもらいたいとか、そういうことばかり考えるから、舌の根も乾かぬうちにまったく正反対のことを言い、やり出す。民主党も自民党も政権をとる前ととった後では、やらぬと誓ったことをやり、やると誓ったことはやらない、これでは政治不信が起きないほうが不思議だ。選挙は民意を問うためにやっていたはずだが、現状は民意を欺くためにやっているようなもの。
 公職選挙法を改正して「必ず守る公約」という区分を設けて党三役の署名を添えて届け出制にすればいい。公正証書にして、違反があればすぐに強制執行。届け出た選挙公約違反は国民に対する重犯罪ではあるが届出書に署名した党三役懲役は1年間の実刑とその後10年間の公民権停止と定めよう。そして衆議院の即時解散・選挙を義務付ける。
 服役は不名誉で恥ずかしいこと、そして10年間の公民権停止は違反をした政治家の政治生命を奪うだろう。公民権停止期間中は身代わりに子どもが立候補することも禁止すればいい。きちんと法律に書いておかないと公約すら平気で破る政治家は脱法行為はさらに平気だろうから、いろいろなケースを想定して法律でしっかり規定しておきたい。

(5)  Recent media reports that Kansai Electric Power Co. is moving to scrap the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at its Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture — both of which began operating in the early 1970s and are more than 40 years old — were followed by a comment by trade minister Yuko Obuchi that the government would promote both the smooth decommissioning of aging reactors and the reactivation of reactors whose safety has been confirmed.

(6)  It is obvious that the government has in sight shutting down several nuclear power reactors that have become so old as to require an untenably high cost to meet the safety standards.

(7)  Under the new safety regulations introduced after the 2011 triple meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, nuclear reactors are in principle not allowed to operate for more than 40 years. Exceptions are allowed. Companies may be allowed to continue operating for up to 20 more years if they go through special inspections, including detailed checks on the decay status of their equipment such as the reactor pressure vessel — a process likely to require a major overhaul at huge cost, such as replacement of old power cables.

(8)  Meanwhile, the aging reactors introduced in the early days of the nuclear power industry typically have much smaller power output capacity than the reactors of subsequent generations, making it unlikely that their continued operation will make profits worth the investments.

(9)  Kansai Electric is not alone. In March, Chugoku Electric Power Co. President Tomohide Karita noted the company’s “option” of decommissioning the No. 1 reactor at its Shimane nuclear power plant, which began operating in 1974.

(10)  Kyushu Electric Power Co. is also reported to be weighing the possibility of not seeking an operating extension of the No. 1 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. Thirty-eight years have passed since it started up; it has the lowest output capacity among the utility’s six nuclear reactors.

(11)  Of the nation’s existing 48 nuclear power reactors, 18 are more than 30 years old. Seven reactors either have passed or are nearing the 40-year mark, and their operators need to apply to the NRA for safety screening by July next year if they plan to extend the reactors’ operation. The power companies are expected to make a decision as early as yearend on what to do with the seven reactors.

(12)  The post-Fukushima regulations require power companies to make additional investments to upgrade their plants’ resilience against natural disasters such as big earthquakes and tsunami as well as severe accidents.

(13)  Plants that are found to have active faults running under reactor buildings as a result of having the tightened standards applied to them will also face scrapping even if they have operated for fewer than 40 years.

(14)  Citing the cost of increased fuel imports to run thermal power plants and the burden of rising electricity charges, the Abe administration has pushed for reactivating idled nuclear reactors once they have been given the NRA’s safety nod.

(15)  Since July last year, the power companies have applied for NRA screening of a total of 20 reactors. Of these, only two — the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Sendai plant of Kyushu Electric in Kagoshima Prefecture — have so far been approved for the process by the NRA. It is considered doubtful that the power companies will spend the money and time needed to restart the aging reactors.

(16)  The increased cost of meeting the safety regulations raises doubts about the government’s claims of the cost advantages in running nuclear power plants instead of other energy sources. There may be cases where power companies decide to discontinue some reactors even before the 40-year limit.

(17)  Trade minister Obuchi has indicated that the government may consider measures to help the power companies scrap the aging reactors smoothly.

(18)  Since discontinuing a nuclear reactor reduces the asset value of the plant facility, its operator would need to report losses from the cut — an additional financial burden on the firms suffering from years of losses due to rising fuel costs. The trade ministry is reportedly mulling changes to accounting standards to ease the burden of the power companies.

(19)  But operators of nuclear power plants are supposed to set aside the costs of decommissioning their reactors from the profits gained from power generation at the facilities.

(20)  The government should not offer special treatment for the power companies merely because of the massive costs involved, as that would contravene economic principles and become difficult for taxpayers to support.


*#2861 原発をめぐる詐欺的会計基準(1):モラルハザード Nov. 9, 2014 
http://nimuorojyuku.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2014-11-08-1

*#2862 原発をめぐる詐欺的会計基準(2):不良資産と簿外債務 Nov. 9, 2014  
http://nimuorojyuku.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2014-11-09



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