21 May 2011

Tepco head resigns as company posts massive loss

4:14 am on 21 May 2011

The president of TEPCO, which operates the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, has resigned, after the company reported one of the biggest-ever losses by a Japanese company.

The Fukushima Daiichi facility in northeast Japan was wrecked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake which triggered a tsunami on 11 March this year.

The nuclear crisis at Fukushima has pushed it 1.25 trillion yen (US$15.3 billion) into the red. It includes the cost of bringing the damaged reactors under control, which could the rest of the year, and eventually scrapping them, the BBC reports.

Tokyo Electric Power Company president Masataka Shimizu, will resign to take responsibility for the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in Ukraine 25 years ago.

Overall, losses for TEPCO could end up being much bigger. The company faces compensation claims from 80,000 people forced to abandon their homes, which could run to well over $US100 billion.

Mr Shimizu will be replaced by managing director Toshio Nishizawa.

TEPCO's share price has fallen more than 80% since the earthquake.