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Pluthermal Developments and Plutonium Use Plans

On 7 March 2008, the Federation of Atomic Power Companies published the electric power companies' plutonium use plans for the 2008 fiscal year. On the same day the Japan Atomic Energy Agency published its research and development use of plutonium use plan.

Also, electric power companies are now proceeding with their pluthermal plans. This is very significant, because it lays the ground for the commencement of full operation of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant (see News Watch in Nuke Info Tokyo 123), in the sense that it creates an alibi that the plutonium extracted will not be surplus to requirements.

The fact that this is nothing more than an alibi is illustrated by the plutonium use plans released each year since 2006. As explained in Nuke Info Tokyo 117 in regard to the FY2007 plans, these plans are essentially meaningless. There is no indication of by when the plutonium separated at the Rokkasho reprocessing plant will be used up. Furthermore, the power companies intend to use plutonium extracted overseas before the plutonium extracted at Rokkasho. Consequently, their plutonium use plans provide no evidence that the plutonium extracted at Rokkasho will not be surplus to requirements.

Philip White (CNIC International Liaison Officer)

Japanese Electric Power Companies' plutonium use plans (pdf version 240 kb)

Japan Atomic Energy Agency plutonium use plan (pdf version 188 kB)

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