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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 May 13 - 19  > Shii criticizes nuclear authority for giving green light to resume operation of nuclear fuel reprocessing plant
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2020 May 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Shii criticizes nuclear authority for giving green light to resume operation of nuclear fuel reprocessing plant

May 14, 2020
The Nuclear Regulation Authority on May 13 compiled a report indicating that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd’s nuclear fuel reprocessing plant located in Rokkasho Village in Aomori Prefecture meets its new safety standards.

Asked by the press for a comment on this report, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said, “The NRA’s approval for operations of the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is outrageous and unacceptable.”

Shii pointed out that the government’s long-sought project to realize a nuclear fuel cycle in which plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel will be reused as nuclear fuel has fully discredited. He stressed that in addition to the hazardous nature of reprocessing used nuclear fuel, there is no facility available for using recycled fuel.

The nuclear fuel reprocessing plant plays a key role in the government-promoting nuclear fuel cycle project. The plant in Rokkasho Village has a capacity to extract approximately eight tons plutonium from 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel annually. The nuclear fuel cycle project which uses unestablished technologies has failed.

The fast breeder reactor “Monju” was cited as a good example of the use of plutonium produced at the Rokkasho plant. In 2016, however, the decision to decommission this facility was announced. The government explained that plutonium will be used in thermal reactors for power generation at normal nuclear power plants. The number of reactors for this purpose, however, is only four, including the No.3 reactor at the Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Genkai nuclear power plant.

Although the construction of the Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing facility started in 1993, it has yet to be completed. Japan Nuclear Fuel seeks to begin commercial operations of the facility in the first half of 2021.

Past related articles:
>Japan must abandon nuclear fuel cycle project [August 23, 2018]
>Stop using money for collapsed nuclear-fuel cycle: JCP Inoue [November 17, 2011]
>Reprocessing of nuclear spent fuel is perilous endeavor [May 27, 2011]
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