JAPAN | Fukushima crisis causes British fuel plant to shut

Posted on August 4, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | 4 August 2011

A British plant for processing spent nuclear fuel is set to close due to the loss of business from Japanese power companies following the Fukushima nuclear accident.

The British government-affiliated Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on Wednesday announced its plan to close the plant at Sellafield.

The plant has been processing spent nuclear fuel to produce uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX fuel.

The alternative fuel was to be used for Japan’s “pluthermal” nuclear recycling project.

In May last year, the plant reached a broad agreement with 10 Japanese power companies.

The British authority cited the uncertain future of Japan’s pluthermal project following the March disaster as the reason for the planned closure.

It says it took the decision to avoid burdening British taxpayers.

The MOX plant has been operating well below capacity since coming online in 1996. With Japan its only major customer, changes in nuclear policy since the disaster made the plant’s future untenable.

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