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Tokai JCO Criticality Accident

Report [20]11/26/99 20:10

Introduction of MOX Fuel Delayed
JCO accident further delays Japan's nuclear power plans

In light of the fabrication of inspection data by the British Nuclear Fuel plc (BNFL) of MOX fuel manufactured to be used at Takahama 4 in Niigata prefecture, Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) decided to have the fuel remanufactured and thus the use of MOX fuel at this plant will be delayed significantly. Following the JCO accident and this data fabrication scandal, the mayor of Kashiwazaki City proposed that the use of MOX fuel at Kashiwazaki 3 be postponed. Following this request, the director of the Kashiwazaki power plant officially announced a one-year postponement of the plan. Kyushu Electric Power Co. was planning to propose to Saga Prefecture and Genkai-cho the use of MOX fuel at Genkai 3 but the company has decided to go back to the drawing boards.

Plans to construct additional nuclear power plants were being delayed even before the JCO accident, however, the accident seems to have delayed plans even further. On October 27th the Japan Atomic Power Co. submitted a report to Fukui Prefecture on the accident at its Tsuruga 2 nuclear reactor, located in Fukui Prefecture. The accident involved an enormous amount of cooling water that leaked from a cracked pipe in the primary coolant system. In the report the Company presented findings of its investigation of the causes and outlined measures to be adopted to prevent such an accident from happening again. JAPCO also submitted a plan to resume operations in late January 2000. The Prefectural Government's response to this was only that it would proceed with caution.

JAPCO cannot propose plans to build two additional reactors at the same site until Tsuruga 2 resumes operation. In addition, they have been unable to obtain agreements with local municipalities, which are necessary before safety reviews of improvement plans for the FBR Monju can advance.

Elsewhere, on October 1st, the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute was scheduled to propose its plan to the Ibaraki Prefectural Government and the village of Tokai to resume operations of the Tokai Reprocessing Plant. The plan was naturally shelved. Unless operations at the reprocessing plant resume, there will be no place to deliver spent fuel produced by ATR Fugen and so it is likely that the Fugen facility will have to suspend operations.



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