Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. is the only news agency providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan

Local governor OKs nuclear reprocessing plant operations

Aomori Prefectural Governor Mimura Shingo on March 28 gave his consent to test runs of a nuclear reprocessing plant in Rokkasho Village that extracts plutonium from spent nuclear fuel.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. was to begin the tests in March. It is in fact the beginning of the operation, and in fiscal 2011 the plant is planned to reprocess 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel.

Japan currently possesses more than 40 tons of plutonium, which is expected to increase further by the operation of the plant.

The "pluthermal" operations using plutonium-uranium mixed fuel (MOX) have not been implemented in accordance with the plan of the government and the electricity industry. Even if all the "pluthermal" reactors come into operation, the amount of plutonium extracted from reprocessing is expected to surpass that which will be used for "pluthermal" operations. The operation of the Rokkasho plant will deepen the contradiction in the government's nuclear policy.

What is more, local residents voiced their serious concerns over the safety of the plant. On the same day in neighboring Iwate Prefecture, the company held meetings to explain the plan to two municipal governments, and municipal heads and many other representatives expressed their criticism of the operation.
- Akahata, March 29, 2006

* * *

Spent plant reprocessing operation began on March 31 at the Rokkasho nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, which is in fact the launch of the first commercial operation of plutonium extraction in Japan. By August 2007, the plant will reprocess 430 tons of spent nuclear fuel and extract about 2 tons of nuclear-fissionable weapons-grade plutonium.
- Akahata, April 1, 2006

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.