Tokyo, Aug. 3 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s internal affairs ministry plans to approve the introduction of a progressive tax scheme by a local municipality for spent nuclear fuel at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant, Jiji Press learned Monday.
The ministry will allow the city of Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan, to increase the amount of its spent nuclear fuel tax based on the period of such fuel being kept at the nuclear power plant, which straddles the city and the village of Kariwa.
It is the first time that such a progressive tax scheme will be applied to spent nuclear fuel in the country. The spent nuclear fuel tax is a non-statutory levy that local governments can introduce independently.
Kashiwazaki hopes to get TEPCO to move the spent fuel at the power plant out of the prefecture instead of holding it for a long period there. Such a pressure strategy may inspire other municipalities that host nuclear power plants and impose spent fuel taxes to increase the levies.
On April 21, the Kashiwazaki city assembly voted to increase the base rate for the tax and introduce an additional amount based on how long the fuel remains at the plant. After the central government’s approval, the city plans to introduce the revised tax scheme on Oct. 1.
The city currently collects 480 yen per kilogram of spent fuel at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. It will raise the base rate to 620 yen and increase the tax by 50 yen every year for fuel stored at the plant for 15 years or longer until the additional amount reaches 250 yen. Together, the tax can reach up to 870 yen per kilogram.
The city expects its annual revenue from the tax to increase from 575 million yen to 787 million yen as a result.
But the additional tax will only apply after the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan, begins operations.
Specifically, the collection of the additional portions will start in the year after the city and TEPCO agree that the transport of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s spent fuel out of Niigata is possible following the reprocessing plant’s launch.
Local governments need to obtain consent from the internal affairs minister for the introduction of non-statutory tax.
Spent nuclear fuel tax is now being imposed also by the town of Ikata in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan, the town of Genkai in the southwestern prefecture of Saga and the city of Satsumasendai in Kagoshima Prefecture, also southwestern Japan.
Ikata hosts Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s <9507> Ikata nuclear power plant, and Genkai and Satsumasendai host Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s <9508> Genkai and Sendai nuclear plants, respectively.