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Japan inaugurates new body for nuclear fuel reprocessing

The organization will manage Japan’s 49 tons of plutonium and 17 million kg from 56,000 used fuel assemblies for the next 241,000 years


The industry ministry said Monday a new body for supervising nuclear fuel reprocessing has been established as the Japanese government seeks to retain a recycling policy, obliging 10 nuclear plant operators nationwide to fund the body for an uninterrupted reprocessing program.

The Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan opened its head office in Aomori City in northeastern Japan. It mandates nuclear power utilities to shoulder the cost of reprocessing spent fuel in the form of financial contributions to itself.

Until now, power companies voluntarily set aside reserves to be used for reprocessing programs.

The new entity draws reprocessing operational plans and consigns them to Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., whose main shareholders are power companies, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The body plans to set up a representative office in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, where Japan Nuclear Fuel has facilities for reprocessing.

In May, a law to strengthen state involvement in nuclear fuel reprocessing cleared Japan’s parliament, paving the way for securing funds to continue recycling nuclear fuel.

The ministry granted authorization for the establishment of the new body on Sep. 20 under the Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Fund Act.


October 5, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Completion of nuclear fuel processing plant postponed for 21st time


The Rokkasho project ( the nuclear waste treatment plant in Japan) postponed for the 21th time!  

Too many risks Will Japan finally take the only right decision: to never restart reactors ? 

To give up the Rokkasho could just lead them to do that…

October 31, 2014

AOMORI–Complications in safety screening have led to the 21st postponement of work to complete a key nuclear processing facility in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

The latest delay, announced Oct. 30 by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., the operator of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, could affect future operations at nuclear plants across the country.

“This is the only facility (to process spent nuclear fuel in Japan),” Japan Nuclear Fuel President Kenji Kudo said at a news conference here. “We are doing our best.”

Under the government’s plans, the Rokkasho plant will recycle plutonium in spent nuclear fuel generated at nuclear power plants across the nation, helping to reduce the amount of radioactive waste accumulating in storage pools at the plants.

In January, Japan Nuclear Fuel applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a safety inspection–a precondition to proceed with the construction of the facility.

The company expected the safety screening to end around June and planned to complete work on the processing facility by the end of October.

But discussions for the inspections only started in September because of the risk factors unique to the Rokkasho plant, such as complex piping between buildings and the huge amount of high-level liquid radioactive materials stored there.

In addition, the reprocessing plant came under stricter NRA safety standards after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The extra time needed for the safety screening led to the decision by Japan Nuclear Fuel to postpone the completion date to March 2016.

The facility was originally scheduled to be finished in 1997. Just a year ago, Japan Nuclear Fuel announced its 20th postponement.

Under the latest schedule, Japan Nuclear Fuel plans to pass the NRA screening by June next year and complete construction in the following nine months.

But approval from the nuclear industry watchdog is not guaranteed.

“It is not clear at all how things will work out for the processing plant,” an NRA official said.

Currently, all nuclear reactors in Japan are offline, and electric power companies have applied for NRA screenings to restart their reactors.

With the continued delays at the Rokkasho facility, its storage pools have filled to near capacity with spent fuel brought from nuclear power plants throughout Japan.

Even if the electric power companies can restart their nuclear reactors, they could be forced to shut them down if the Rokkasho plant cannot accept additional nuclear fuel and their own storage pools become filled.

Under the planned fuel recycling program, plutonium and uranium in spent fuel will be removed through chemical processing at the Rokkasho plant. Processed high-level radioactive substances will be stored on the site after being encased in glass.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

November 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan | | 1 Comment

Swiss nuclear company Axpo using Russian fuel from polluted area

Greenpeace blasts Swiss nuclear power over Russian fuelSource:  AFP October 5, 2010 Environmental group Greenpeace sharply criticised Swiss power stations Tuesday for using nuclear fuel from a Russian reprocessing centre at Mayak, claiming it was one of the world’s most polluted. Continue reading

October 7, 2010 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | , , , , | Leave a comment

Four nuclear sites in Russia at risk from fires

The Mayak plant can process 400 tonnes of waste a year. It was the scene of one of the former Soviet Union’s major nuclear disasters in 1957 when a liquid waste accident affected some 260,000 people and forced the evacuation of several towns.

Russia nuclear sites under threat from the flames, Khaleej Times, (AFP)9 August 2010, MOSCOW — Here is a list of sensitive nuclear sites threatened by the spread of fires raging in Russia since late July.· Continue reading

August 10, 2010 Posted by | environment, Russia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Energy wants to offload weapons plutonium onto commercial reactors

The Department of Energy is looking for ways to dispose of plutonium from nuclear weapons….Ed Lyman, senior staff scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the mixed-oxide fuel is “too dirty, dangerous and expensive.”

TVA hears public worries over Ala. plant plutonium – BusinessWeek, 4 Aug 2010, TANNER, Ala. A public hearing on the Tennessee Valley Authority possibly using reprocessed weapons plutonium to power some reactors in north Alabama and Tennessee attracted about 70 people, many with questions about safety. Continue reading

August 5, 2010 Posted by | technology, USA | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

lingering radioactivity affects worker

The site south of Buffalo housed a nuclear fuel reprocessing operation from 1966 to 1972. Uranium and plutonium were extracted from spent fuel. Cleanup has been ongoing since the 1980s.

NY nuke site worker had slight radiation exposure – BusinessWeek, WEST VALLEY, N.Y., 4 Aug 2010, A worker at a New York nuclear cleanup site had to be decontaminated after moisture seeped through her protective clothing while she was cleaning a floor, exposing her to a slight amount of radiation. Continue reading

August 5, 2010 Posted by | safety, USA | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA to allow South Korea to reprocess nuclear fuel?

Washington has so far been reluctant to permit it since the process results in the production of weapons-grade plutonium.

Korea, U.S. to Discuss Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing This Fall, The Chosun Ilbo, 3 Aug 2010, Korea and the United States have agreed to start talks about the revision of a bilateral atomic energy agreement this fall, it emerged on Monday. Seoul is keen to reprocess its own spent fuel rods, which it is barred from doing under the agreement, Continue reading

August 3, 2010 Posted by | South Korea, technology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA desperate to sell, allows India to reprocess nuclear fuel

The Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative has facilitated significant new commercial opportunities across India’s multi-billion dollar nuclear energy market, including the designation of two nuclear reactor park sites for U.S. technology

India Gets US Nod To Reprocess Spent Nuclear Fuel,, August 1, 2010  Tejinder Singh –Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – The United States on Friday gave India a go-ahead on reprocessing of American nuclear spent fuel by India, marking the final steps in terms of implementation of the landmark civil nuclear deal between the two countries. Continue reading

August 2, 2010 Posted by | India, politics international, technology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea wants to recycle nuclear “spent” fuel

Washington is concerned that allowing the country to process the fuel for reuse may discourage North Korea from giving up its weapons programme,

South Korea seeks US accord to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, Industrial Fuels and Power, July 23rd, 2010 Continue reading

July 24, 2010 Posted by | politics, South Korea | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How workers’ uranium exposure levels can be fudged

levels of residual radiation at the site AFTER the structure itself was removed and buried in Piketon, Ohio, were used to approximate radiation doses of workers when it was in operation…..there’s no reason to believe that host decontamination measurements would be meaningful to reconstruct doses 18 years earlier during operations.”

Panel Discussing Raising Huntington Radiation Exposure Levels at Atomic Plant Some Could Jump Ten Fold By Tony Rutherford,, 21 July 2010, Continue reading

July 22, 2010 Posted by | health, Uranium, USA | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea wants nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment

the South Korean government also wants to acquire a uranium enrichment capacity to make the traditional fuel for reactors — another activity banned by the 1974 accord because enriched uranium can also be used for weapons………. South Korea’s ambition is tied to its drive to become a major exporter of nuclear reactors.

U.S. Wary of South Korea’s Plan to Reuse Nuclear Fuel, By CHOE SANG-HUN New York Times,  July 13, 2010 “……another nuclear dispute is emerging on the Korean Peninsula — this one between the United States and South Korea. South Korea, which has no oil reserves, derives 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors and is running out of space to store the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel. Continue reading

July 15, 2010 Posted by | politics international, South Korea | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three times more plutonium waste than they thought, at Hanford!

.“What is reasonably foreseeable is that there are people who will be drinking the water in the ground at Hanford at some point in the next few hundred years,” Mr. Pollet said. “We’re going to be killing people, pure and simple.”

Analysis Triples U.S. Plutonium Waste Figures,, by Matthew Wald, 12 July 2010,  The amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously reported, a new analysis indicates, suggesting that a cleanup to protect future generations will be far more challenging than planners had assumed. Continue reading

July 13, 2010 Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom involved in Iran, France, Australia

Rosatom Agrees to First Asset Sale to Foreign Investor, The Moscow Times, 09 June 2010By Anatoly Medetsky “…..Kiriyenko (pictured) announced that Russia and Iran would jointly run Iran’s first nuclear power plant that Rosatom plans to launch in August. Iran agreed to establish a joint venture with Rosatom to operate the plant because the country doesn’t have enough experience in maintaining such facilities, he said.In other news, Rosatom signed an agreement with the French Atomic Energy Commission to expand cooperation on reprocessing, decommissioning and isotopes technology.

In what could further extend Rosatom’s international reach, the State Duma is scheduled to ratify an accord between Russia and Australia on peaceful nuclear cooperation on Wednesday. Continue reading

June 10, 2010 Posted by | politics international, Russia | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes, like diamonds, are forever

THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY AND RADIOACTIVE WASTES – our theme for June 2010. “The question whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government.” – Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

Half-life is the period of time it takes for a radioisotope atom to degrade to a state having half of its original intensity

As you can see the continued production, use, and dumping of such waste materials as depleted uranium and plutonium, into the world’s air, land, and water leaves a permanent problem for our children, grandchildren. great-grand-children ….

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Christina's notes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coolant system failures – bound to happen in Japan’s fast breeder reactors

Japanese fast breeder nuclear reactor malfunctions and worse are ‘inevitable, Nuclear Reaction, 1 May 2010,Coolant system mishap at Japan’s long-stalled Monju fast breeder are “inevitable” in such reactors
‘NEW YORK – The Monju prototype fast breeder nuclear power reactor, which has been gearing up for an early May restart after a 15-year stoppage, suffered a temporary glitch in a coolant leakage detector Tuesday……

…….. one Japanese nuclear industry source familiar with the Monju project was quoted as saying in Japan Today that malfunctions of this type – and worse – are “inevitable” in such reactors. The government-affiliated agency said the sodium detector, housed in an auxiliary building to the reactor at the Monju centre in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, came to a halt after a fan motor overheated, triggering an alarm at 11:59 p.m. Monday. A fire accompanying a sodium leak shut down the reactor in December 1995, and the project has not been restarted since.’ Nuclear News: Japanese fast breeder nuclear reactor malfunctions and worse are ‘inevitable’ – Nuclear Reaction – A Greenpeace blog about nuclear power

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Japan, technology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment