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A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) employee wearing a protective suit and a mask walks in front of a fuel handling machine on the spent fuel pool inside the building housing the Unit 4 reactor at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Japanese regulators on Oct. 30 formally approved the removal of fuel rods from the cooling pool at the damaged Unit 4 reactor building considered the highest risk at the crippled nuclear plant. Removing the fuel rods is the first major step in a decommissioning process that is expected to last decades at the Fukushima plant, where three reactors melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Tomohiro Ohsumi, Pool)TOKYO, Nov. 23 (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. will build two cutting-edge coal-fired power generation facilities in Fukushima Prefecture, the home of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in conjunction with three Mitsubishi group firms, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

The two facilities with 500,000 kilowatts output each will be constructed in the city of Iwaki and the town of Hirono, respectively, with the start of operations projected for around 2020, the sources said. The 1 million kilowatts output in total is equivalent to one nuclear reactor.

TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi complex, expects the plan to generate thousands of jobs in the nuclear disaster-hit area in the fields of construction and maintenance of the facilities, according to the sources.

The utility also aims to switch to cheaper coal-fired thermal power from steam-power generation, on which it has been relying since its nuclear power plants were suspended following the Fukushima accident, the sources said.

The three Mitsubishi group firms are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

Total investment in the project is expected to be around 300 billion yen, and the investment ratio of TEPCO will be less than 10 percent, according to the sources.

The new facilities will utilize the highly efficient integrated gasification combined cycle, which discharges less atmospheric pollutants and may allow the operators to gain a government subsidy.

The plan will be presented in the utility's reconstruction program.

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