Japan allows MOX fuel for reactor

31 August 2005

Plans to use MOX fuel at the Genkai power plant in Kyushu have been given the go-ahead by the Japanese government.

With Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) endorsing the plan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is expected to follow suit.

Kyushu Electric Power, which operates the Genkai unit 3 in Saga prefecture, plans to begin using the fuel by fiscal 2010 but still requires approval from Saga prefectural and Genkai municipal governments.

With both Tokyo and Kansai Electric Power companies having already obtained METI approval to use the MOX fuel, industry had hoped to begin using it at 16-18 plants by fiscal 2010. However, both Tokyo and Kansai have been stalled after problems gaining approval from local residents. Kansai 's Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture and Tokyo Electric's Fukushima I nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata prefecture have been granted government approval, but revelations that Tokyo covered up safety problems and a fatal accident at a Kansai plant have shaken confidence in their operations.

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