Tokyo: The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), on Tuesday reported a first-quarter loss of 7.4 billion USD over the radiation disaster.

The world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and has heavily damaged regional farming, fisheries and tourism.

TEPCO, long one of the worlds biggest power companies, has also suffered large shortfalls in electricity output as the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi and other plants have stayed offline since the March 11 disaster.

The company announced a net loss of 571.8 billion yen for the April-June period -- largely due to an extraordinary loss of 503 billion yen for compensation and other costs linked to the disaster.

TEPCO has also run large-scale emergency operations at Fukushima.

The company's operating loss reached 52.0 billion yen, compared with an operating profit of 62.9 billion yen for the same period a year ago.

Sales dropped 7.2 percent on-year to 1.13 trillion yen in the three-month period.

The company did not issue a forecast for the full year to March 2012 and warned of the risk that its finances could deteriorate to the point where it can no longer operate as a private firm.

The initial impact of the disaster hit TEPCO in the previous quarter, when it reported a 1.24 trillion yen net loss for the fiscal year to March 31, the biggest ever for a Japanese non-financial company.

The nuclear disaster started when a magnitude-9.0 seabed quake and a massive tsunami hit the six-reactor plant almost five months ago, knocking out cooling systems and sparking meltdowns and a series of explosions.

The plant has since leaked radiation into the air, ground and sea, forcing the evacuation of more than 85,000 people from a 20-kilometre (12-mile) zone around the plant and more from radiation hotspots further afield.

(Agencies)