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Japan’s plutonium glut casts a shadow on renewed nuclear deal.

Nikkei Asian review 14th Feb 2018,  American
concerns about potential diversion of idle fuel leave the agreement at
The decision Jan. 16 to automatically extend a nuclear agreement with
the U.S. came as a relief to a Japanese government worried about the
prospect of renegotiating the basis for a cornerstone of its energy policy.
But friction remains over a massive store of plutonium that highlights the
problems with the nation’s ambitious nuclear energy plans. The nuclear fuel
cycle pursued by Japan’s government and power companies centers on
recovering uranium and plutonium from spent fuel for reuse in reactors.
This is made possible by the unique agreement with the U.S. that lets Japan
make plutonium. The radioactive element can be used in nuclear weapons, so
its production is generally tightly restricted. Japan has amassed roughly
47 tons of plutonium stored inside and outside the country — enough for
some 6,000 nuclear warheads. With the nation’s nuclear power plants
gradually taken offline after the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster,
and progress on restarting them sluggish, Japan has been left with no real
way to whittle down a pile drawing international scrutiny.


February 16, 2018 - Posted by | - plutonium, Japan

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