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Fukushima operator reportedly eyes wholesale power market in Europe

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant wants to start operations in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, a report said Thursday, as it looks for ways to offset the huge costs of the disaster.

TOKYO: The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant wants to start operations in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, a report said Thursday, as it looks for ways to offset the huge costs of the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) will set up a joint venture in Britain by March 2016 with another Japanese company to make large-scale power storage facilities, the Nikkei said, as part of its entry into the wholesale electricity market.

It would buy up excess power at night from generating companies and others with generation capabilities, store it, and then sell the electricity during the day when supply is tight, the economic daily said.

There is currently no suggestion the embattled company intends to operate power plants in Britain.

TEPCO's partner is NGK Insulators, based in the central Japanese city of Nagoya, with whom it has developed large storage cells.

Success in Britain would lead it to enter wholesale power markets in other places such as France and Germany, the Nikkei said.

TEPCO said Thursday that it and NGK had jointly applied for a government project to support feasibility studies on exporting infrastructure systems.

They want to explore possibilities of using large storage cells for stable power supply service in Britain but nothing concrete has been decided, a company spokesman said.

TEPCO halted overseas investment in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that devastated its facilities in Fukushima on the Pacific coast and sparked the worst atomic accident in a generation.

The company has been saddled with damages payments for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the disaster and costs to decommission reactors at Fukushima, which have been estimated at trillions of yen.

The company has more recently resumed efforts in foreign markets and plans to bring a coal-fired plant onstream in the Philippines as soon as 2017, the Nikkei said.

Shares in TEPCO, which is holding an annual general shareholders' meeting on Thursday. were up 0.71 per cent at 422 yen in morning trade.

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