BNFL starts again

30 November 1999

BNFL has agreed to produce a new batch of MOX fuel for Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co, after admitting it had falsified safety data (See NEI, Oct p2). An investigation into the incident, when measurements of the dimensions of the MOX fuel pellets were copied from a previous batch, has been completed. While it showed that the MOX fuel which was shipped from Sellafield and La Hague to Japan this autumn had had all the correct safety checks, a batch that was due to be shipped has had to be rejected.

As a result Kansai will have to delay the use of plutonium in the unit 3 PWR at Takahama until spring 2001. Following the recent accident at Tokaimura, local politicians believe this is a prudent decision. Kansai intends to increase the number of inspections it carries out on BNFL’s work and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to send a supervisor to BNFL on a permanent basis. Mitsubishi commissioned BNFL to make the MOX fuel on behalf of Kansai.

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