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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 October 28 - November 3  > Abe gov’t restarts nuclear reactors with no plan to dispose of ‘deadly ashes’
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2015 October 28 - November 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
column 

Abe gov’t restarts nuclear reactors with no plan to dispose of ‘deadly ashes’

October 30, 2015
Akahata ‘current’ column

In Rokkasho Village in Aomori Prefecture is the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant run by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. At the plant site with a total area equivalent to 1,000 soccer fields are facilities to enrich uranium and bury radioactive wastes which remain after the dismantling of nuclear power reactors.

A nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is a facility to extract uranium and highly enriched plutonium from spent nuclear fuel. The construction of the Rokkasho plant started in 1993 based on the government program to recycle spent nuclear fuel, but it has yet to be completed due to a series of accidents.

The reprocessing plant in Rokkasho has pools to store spent fuel sent from nuclear power stations across the country. Those pools are “nearly full” of spent nuclear materials as it remains undetermined when to launch the recycling operations. Some nuclear power plants in the country are also storing spent fuel within their compounds. Their storage capacity, however, will reach their maximum limit in a few years.

If an atomic reactor with a generating capacity of one million kilowatts is put online, it generates 21 tons of spent nuclear fuel per year. Spent nuclear fuel is, in a word, a mass of “lethal ashes”. Although a way of disposing of the radioactive wastes has not yet been established, the Abe government is trying to restart nuclear reactors around the nation.

In October, the Abe administration decided on a policy to grant additional subsidies to local governments hosting the nuclear power facilities which are going to increase their capacity of stocking spent nuclear fuel. This is a flagrant measure to promote the reactivation of idled nuclear reactors, along with another government plan to increase the subsidies to NPP-hosting local governments after the atomic reactors in their areas are put into operation.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo repeatedly claims that he will reduce Japan’s dependence on nuclear power generation as much as possible. The general public has already seen through his lie.

Past related article:
> Ehime governor OKs restart of Ikata nuclear power plant in spite of public opposition [October 27, 2015]
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