The return of MOX

28 September 2001

The Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco) announced that a “nuclear material transfer application” has been submitted to the US government by the Japanese government for the return of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel currently stored at the Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture.

The fuel was manufactured by BNFL for the Takahama 3 reactor and was transported to Japan in the summer of 1999. It was later found that the quality control data for this fuel had been falsified and it was agreed that the fuel would be returned to the United Kingdom. In addition BNFL agreed to pay Kepco compensation of £40 million.

The fuel includes uranium supplied by the United States and thus, under the US-Japan nuclear agreement, the Japanese government is required to obtain permission from the US government for this shipment. Kepco hopes to ship out the fuel by the end of next year. The Fukui government and local citizens insist that no MOX fuel can be used in the prefecture while the falsified fuel remains there.

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