Asia

Japan doubles cost estimate for Fukushima cleanup

  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, a member of the media tour group wearing a protective suit and a mask looks at the No. 3 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, one month before Japan marks the fifth anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, turned coastal communities into wasteland and triggered a nuclear crisis. A cost estimate to clean up Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning costs expected to continue to rise, according to a government panel Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, a member of the media tour group wearing a protective suit and a mask looks at the No. 3 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, one month before Japan marks the fifth anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, turned coastal communities into wasteland and triggered a nuclear crisis. A cost estimate to clean up Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning costs expected to continue to rise, according to a government panel Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, a worker, wearing a protective suit and a mask, levels ground at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, one month before Japan marks the fifth anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, turned coastal communities into wasteland and triggered a nuclear crisis. A cost estimate to clean up Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning costs expected to continue to rise, according to a government panel Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, a worker, wearing a protective suit and a mask, levels ground at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, one month before Japan marks the fifth anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, turned coastal communities into wasteland and triggered a nuclear crisis. A cost estimate to clean up Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning costs expected to continue to rise, according to a government panel Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Japanese government panel says an estimate of the total costs to clean up the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning costs expected to continue to rise.

The estimate released Friday raises the decommissioning part of the total costs to 8 trillion yen ($70 billion) from the current 2 trillion ($17.5 billion) because of surging labor and construction costs. Panel officials said the numbers could grow as experts learn more about the damage to the plant's reactors and determine fuel removal methods. Costs for compensation, decontamination of the area and waste storage have also grown significantly.

The plant suffered multiple meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Officials said its decommissioning will take several decades.