December 1999

Kansai groups seek MOX injunction on Kepco

Japan Times, 19 November 1999

[Posted 06/12/1999]

OSAKA -- Two Kansai-based antinuclear groups announced Thursday that they will seek an injunction to stop Kansai Electric Power Company from burning mixed plutonium-uranium fuel at the Takahama No. 4 nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture later this month.

The request for the injunction was to be filed with Osaka District Court today, they said.

Green Action Kyoto and an Osaka group opposed to nuclear power in Takahama said they were taking the action because of concerns that data related to the fuel, which comes in the form of pellets, may have been fabricated.

Both groups say they are convinced that neither KEPCO nor Japanese nuclear regulatory authorities are prepared to carry out a thorough investigation of the matter.

In late September, KEPCO officials were told by British Nuclear Fuels Limited, which manufactures the MOX fuel, that workers had falsified data related to the fuel currently being produced for use at the Takahama No. 3 reactor.

KEPCO officials ordered that fuel for Takahama No. 3 be remade.

When pressed by antinuclear groups, which conducted an analysis of the No. 4 fuel data, about possible fabrications there as well, KEPCO said that there was no reason to believe those figures had been falsified.

Antinuclear groups say data related to the size of the MOX pellets for the No. 4 plant is suspicious for several reasons, including the fact that, in one instance, six pellets in a row are recorded as having the exact same measurement in what is supposed to be a random test of 200 pellets.

Statistically, there is less than a 1 percent chance of that occurring naturally.

KEPCO officials had no comment on the attempt by antinuclear activists to seek an injunction, but said they still plan to begin using the MOX fuel by the end of the year.

Under current plans, Japan hopes to burn MOX fuel at 16 to 18 commercial power plants by the year 2010.

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