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Japanese Nuclear Power Companies' Pluthermal Plans

(as at March 2007)

What is Pluthermal?

Japan's Pluthermal Plan

Stop MOX Shipments!

Table 1: TEPCO and KEPCO

Table 2: Smaller power companies on the island of Honshu

Table 3: Smaller power companies on the other islands

Table 4: Full MOX plan for Ohma

Media releases

Other links

(The tables shown below were compiled by Masafumi Takubo, editor of Kakujoho, and translated by CNIC.)


What is Pluthermal?

The term 'pluthermal' refers to the use of plutonium in thermal reactors (i.e. light water reactors), as opposed to in fast breeder reactors. The fuel is made from a mixed oxide of plutonium and uranium (MOX).

Japan's Pluthermal Plan

Originally the government and the electric power companies claimed that pluthermal would be implemented in 16-18 reactors by 2010. It was clear for a long time that this schedule could not be met, but the government and the electric power companies persisted stubbornly until June 12, 2009, when finally they were forced to admit their failure. On that day, the Federation of Electric Power Companies announced a revised schedule. The current plan is to implement pluthermal at the same 16-18 reactors by 2015 instead of by 2010. Click here for links to Japanese power companies' plutonium utilization plans.


Table 1: TEPCO and KEPCO#

.
KEPCO - Takahama-3&4
TEPCO - Fukushima I-3 TEPCO - Kashiwazaki-Kariwa-3
Reactor Type
PWR
BWR
BWR
Power Output
870 MW
780 MW
1100 MW
Location
Takahama, Fukui Prefecture
Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture
Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture
Request for 'prior consent' of regional and local governments
23 Feb. 1998
18 Aug. 1998
reappllied on 20 January 2010
24 Feb. 1999
'Prior consent' granted by regional and local governments
8 May 1998 - 'preliminary consent'
2 Nov. 1998
Niigata Pref. / Kariwa: 31 March 1999
Kashiwazaki: 1 April 1999
Application for reactor establishment license variation
11 May 1998
4 Nov. 1998
1 April 1999
Reactor establishment license variation approved
16 Dec. 1998
2 July 1999
24 March 2000
'Prior consent' granted by regional and local governments
Takahama: 26 May 1999
Fukui Pref.: 17 June 1999
This approval is still valid, but it was reconfirmed by the governor on 30 January 2008)
6 August 2010 (anniversary of Hiroshima bomb) 
 
1999 accident and data falsification
14 Sep. 1999: Takahama-3 MOX fuel data falsification revealed
30 Sep. 1999: JCO criticality accident
16 Dec. 1999: Takahama-4 MOX fuel data falsification revealed
Announcements of postponement
16 Dec. 1999
(Return of MOX fuel to UK completed in Sep. '02)
7 Jan. 2000
(MOX fuel stored at nuclear power plant)
18 Nov. 1999
(Postponed to 2001)
(MOX fuel stored at nuclear power plant)
Subsequent developments
20 March 2004: Local governments renew approval
26 March 2004: KEPCO concludes basic contract for supply of MOX fuel
9 Aug. 2004: Fatal accident at Mihama-3 reactor
12 Aug. 2004: KEPCO announces further postponement
30 Jan. 2008: KEPCO resumes preparation for implementation of pluthermal
8 Feb. 2001: TEPCO announces freeze on power plant construction (including thermal power plants in Fukushima Pref.)
26 Feb. 2001: Governor states that “loading of MOX fuel is not possible at the moment”
29 March 2001: TEPCO abandons May implementation
29 Aug. 2002: TEPCO fabrication of inspection data revealed
24 Sep. 2002: Governor retracts 'prior consent'
20 January 2010: application process recommenced with request for prior consent
6 August 2010 prior consent granted (see above)
27 May 2001: Local referendum in Kariwa - majority oppose MOX
1 June 2001: Kariwa, Kashiwazaki & Fukui Prefecture request TEPCO to put MOX plan in abeyance. TEPCO agrees.
29 Aug. 2002: TEPCO fabrication of inspection data revealed
12 Sep. 2002: Governor & Mayors hold meeting and decide to retract 'prior consent'.
Fuel fabrication
Areva/Melox
Contracts signed 31 March 2008 (8 assemblies each for Takahama 3 & 4) and 21 November 2008 (16 assemblies each for Takahama 3 & 4)
 Areva/Melox
Contract signed for 32 assemblies
 
Fuel shipments
16 assemblies arrived from France at Takahama-3 on 30 June 2010
   
Fuel loaded
 5 December 2010
 21 August 2010
 
Reactor started up with MOX fuel
22 December 2010
18 September 2010

# TEPCO and KEPCO are the two largest nuclear power companies in Japan. Of all the power companies, they were the most advanced with their pluthermal plans, until their plans were derailed by scandals and accidents.
TEPCO = Tokyo Electric Power Company
KEPCO = Kansai Electric Power Company


Table 2: The smaller power companies (Honshu)*

 
Chugoku - Shimane-2
Chubu - Hamaoka-4
Tohoku - Onagawa-3
Hokuriku - Shika 1
Reactor Type
BWR
BWR
BWR
BWR
Power Output
820 MW
1137 MW
825 MW
357 MW
Location
Matsue, Shimane Prefecture
Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture
Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture
Shika, Ishikawa Prefecture
Request for 'prior consent' of regional and local governments
12 Sep. 2005
13 Sep. 2005
(No requirement for 'prior consent' under local agreement. Chubu Electric informed local and regional governments of plan, and announced intention to visit all households and hold local meetings to explain plan.)
5 November 2008
28 June 2010
'Prior consent' granted by regional and local governments
. 23 Oct. 2006
(Local authority gave permission for review by central government. See below for 'prior consent' to implement pluthermal.)
29 February 2008
(Governor Ishikawa gave his consent, although this is not officially required.)
18 March 2010.
 
Application for reactor establishment license variation
. 23 Oct. 2006
3 March 2006
6 November 2008
28 June 2010
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency judges application to be adequate, requests double checks (see next two sections)
  ?
?
 
10 June 2009
 
Nuclear Safety Commission judges that application meets safety requirements
.20 October 2008
25 June 2007
24 December 2009
 
Atomic Energy Commission reports that application is adequate
21 October 2008.
26 June 2007
. 22 December 2009
 
Reactor establishment license variation approved
.28 October 2008
4 July 2007
8 January 2010
 
'Prior consent' granted by regional and local governments
24 March 2009
29 February 2008
(Governor Ishikawa gave his consent, although this is not officially required.)
 
 
Fuel fabrication
Areva/Melox
Contract signed on 16 Sep. 2009 (40 assemblies)
Areva/Melox
Contracts signed on 13 March 2006 (108 assemblies) and 30 April 2010 (144 assemblies)
 
 
Fuel shipments  
28 assemblies left Cherbourg, France on 5 March and arrived at Hamaoka on 18 May 2009
 
 
Fuel loaded
 
 
 
 

*
Kyushu = Kyushu Electric Power Company
Shikoku = Shikoku Electric Power Company
Chugoku = Chugoku Electric Power Company
Chubu = Chubu Electric Power Company


Table 3: The smaller power companies (other islands**)

 
Kyushu - Genkai-3
Shikoku - Ikata-3
Hokkaido - Tomari-3
Reactor Type
PWR
PWR
PWR
Power Output
1180 MW
890 MW
912 MW
Location
Genkai, Saga Prefecture
Ikata, Ehime Prefecture
Tomari, Hokkaido Prefecture
Request for 'prior consent' of regional and local governments
28 May 2004
10 May 2004
18 April 2008
'Prior consent' granted by regional and local governments
28 May 2004 (preliminary consent)
1 Nov. 2004 (preliminary consent)
5 March 2009
Application for reactor establishment license variation
28 May 2004
1 Nov. 2004
9 March 2009
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency judges application to be adequate, requests double checks (see next two sections)
10 Feb. 2005
27 July 2005
26 March 2010 
Nuclear Safety Commission judges that application meets safety requirements
29 Aug. 2005
16 March 2006
11 November 2010 
Atomic Energy Commission reports that application is adequate
30 Aug. 2005
20 March 2006
16 November 2010 
Reactor establishment license variation approved
7 Sep. 2005
28 March 2006
26 November 2010 
'Prior consent' granted by regional and local governments
26 March 2006
13 October 2006
See above
Fuel fabrication
Areva/Melox
Contract signed .28 September 2006 (36 assemblies)
Areva/Melox
Contract signed .28 November 2006 (21 assemblies)
Areva/Melox
Contract signed .28 March 2010 (4 assemblies)
Fuel shipments
First: 16 assemblies left Cherbourg, France on 5 March and arrived at Genkai on 23 May 2009
Second: 20 assemblies arrived from France at Genkai on 28 June 2010
21 assemblies left Cherbourg, France on 5 March and arrived at Ikata on 27 May 2009
 
Fuel loaded
15 - 18 October 2009
9 - 12 February 2010
 
Reactor started up with MOX fuel
5 November 2009
2 March 2010
 

**
Kyushu = Kyushu Electric Power Company
Shikoku = Shikoku Electric Power Company
Chugoku = Chugoku Electric Power Company
Chubu = Chubu Electric Power Company

Table 4: Full MOX plan for Ohma

Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) plans to construct an Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (1383 MW) at Ohma in Aomori Prefecture. This reactor would be capable of taking a full core of MOX (mixed oxide of plutonium and uranium) fuel. The plan is to operate it with a full MOX core eventually, but to begin with less than a third MOX. The current status of Ohma is shown in the following table.

8 September 1999 J-Power submitted an application to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for reactor installation license approval.
18 March 2004 J-Power submitted a new application to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for reactor installation license approval. The new application shifted the location of the core 200m from the originally proposed site.
June 2005 METI completed preliminary review of application and referred it to Nuclear Safety Commission and Atomic Energy Commission for review.
19 October 2005 Second public hearing held in Ohma.
23 April 2008 METI approved the Ohma construction plan. J-Power said it planned to commence construction in May 2008.
3 April 2009 Order for fuel fabrication placed with Global Nuclear Fuel Japan Co., which will outsource the manufacture of the MOX fuel to Areva's Melox facility (? assemblies)
2013 Load fuel
2014 Plan to commence operations


Media Releases

Letter sent to IAEA re Japan Atomic Energy Commission approval of faulty Plutonium Utilization Plan (3 February 2006)

Rubber Stamp for Inappropriate and Untransparent Plutonium Utilization Plan (24 January 2006)

The eyes of the world are watching - Will Japan uphold its international commitment to not produce surplus plutonium (18 January 2006)
English (pdf 472 KB) Japanese (pdf 548 KB )

Press release and letter sent to International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 January 2006

Press release and petition sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency on 5 January 2006


Other links

Japan's nuclear power reactors

Reactors currently under construction or proposed

Nuclear Fuel Cycle front page



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