MOX fuel fabrication to be commercialised
NucNet, 16 November 2000
of Electric Power Companies (FEPCO) has announced that nine Japanese
power utilities (excluding Okinawa Electric Power) and Japan Atomic
Power Company (JAPC) plan to begin joint commercial production of mixed-oxide
the proposal, Japan Nuclear Fuel (JNFL) will be the main producer, and
the MOX fuel will be fabricated at a new facility adjacent to JNFL's
Rokkasho reprocessing plant, which itself is currently under construction.
The reprocessing plant and the fabrication plant are to be connected
underground, and raw reprocessed uranium and plutonium will be transferred
to the fabrication facility, where it will be used to make MOX powder,
which will then be used to produce MOX fuel.
facility's capacity will be to a maximum of 130 tonnes of MOX fuel per
year, although the normal production level is expected to be about 90
tonnes per year - 40 tonnes for BWRs, 20 tonnes for PWRs, and 30 tonnes
for the full-MOX core at Ohma nuclear power plant. Construction costs
are estimated at JPY 120 billion (about USD 1.1 billion).
began in October 1998, when FEPCO asked JNFL to assess the possibility
of commercial MOX fabrication in Japan. JNFL concluded that it would
be possible to ensure safety of production by employing both domestic
and overseas MOX fabrication techniques, coupled with Japan's uranium
fuel processing technology.
facility will now move into the detailed design stage, and is due to
begin commercial operation some three or four years after July 2005,
when the reprocessing plant is expected to start.
for the concurrence of local communities is expected to made in spring
next year, and FEPCO plans to convene a policy committee in February,
both at Rokkasho Mura and at the city of Aomori, to evaluate the project's
Masaru Hashimoto, governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, and Tatsuya Murakami,
mayor of Tokai Mura, have agreed to the proposed restart of the Japan
Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (JNC)'s Tokai reprocessing plant.
The agreement means that JNC could restart the plant as early as the
end of this month - just over three years after the fire and explosion
at the then Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC)'s
Yasumasa Togo said: "In restarting operations, reformation of awareness
of all employees will be continued to ensure safety... We will do our
best to complete the nuclear fuel cycle from the viewpoint of a stable