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Nuclear plant utility may get huge loans

TOKYO, March 23 (UPI) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the quake-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, may get massive loans from Japanese banks, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.

Citing sources close to the issue, Kyodo said the loans, under consideration by some of the major banks, could go as high as 2 trillion yen ($25 billion), could be approved by month's end.

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The loans would help the utility increase its electricity supply in the wake of the March 11 Fukushima plant disaster inflicted by the 9-magnitude earthquake and the killer tsunami it set off.

The sources said the banks considering the loan package include the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Mizuho Corporate Bank , Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Chuo Mitsui Trust and Banking Co. and Shinkin Central Bank.

The report said the utility had used mostly corporate bonds to raise money so far, but has decided to go for bank loans as bond market conditions tighten.

The report said Moody's Japan K.K. and Standard & Poor's ratings agencies have downgraded their long-term credit ratings for Tokyo Electric.

The utility may have to refurbish its thermal power plant to boost power supply but that would involve substantial sums for items like heavy oil and other materials, Kyodo said.

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