JAPAN | Kansai Power to shelve MOX fuel plan in Takahama

Posted on July 14, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | 14 July 2011

Kansai Electric Power Company has postponed a plan to introduce recycled plutonium fuel at a reactor in its nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The utility told NHK on Thursday that a lack of local understanding means it cannot proceed with feeding the No.4 reactor of the Takahama plant with plutonium-uranium mixed oxide, or MOX fuel, in regular checkups starting on July 21st.

The revelation came shortly after the Mayor of Takahama Town, Yutaka Nose, told reporters that lack of transparency in the government’s energy policy in the wake of the nuclear crisis makes it impossible to understand why the reactor needs MOX fuel.

Consent from Fukui Prefecture and Takahama Town is vital for the utility to carry out the plan.

The No.4 reactor was supposed to become the fifth in Japan to introduce recycled nuclear fuel, after the company began using MOX at the No.3 reactor of the plant in January.

Two power plants in Saga and Ehime Prefectures that had already used MOX fuel are not in operation.

The No.3 reactor of the Takahama plant, the only working reactor on MOX fuel, is scheduled to be suspended for regular checkups early next year.

Kansai Electric Power Company’s decision is likely to affect the so-called “pluthermal” project, the pillar of the nation’s nuclear recycling policy.

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Posted in: JAPAN