moves to repair relations with Japan
FT.com, April 26, 2002
By Matthew Jones
British Nuclear Fuels on Friday began the process of
returning an unwanted
consignment of plutonium mixed oxide (mox) fuel from Japan back to Britain.
The move aims to repair relations between BNFL and Japanese customers
the fuel was delivered with falsified quality records in 1999.
But it met strong protests from environmental campaigners, who claimed
shipment posed an unacceptable security risk and breached international
Two armed nuclear transport ships left Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria
Friday to collect the fuel from Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama
reactor. They are expected to arrive in Japan in June, in the middle
World Cup football competition.
Japan is the largest potential customer for BNFL's new £470m
plant at Sellafield, but had refused to sign contracts until the unwanted
consignment was returned to Britain. The exercise is expected to cost
payers £113m, including £40m of compensation paid to Kansai
Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group, said it had written to
the UK government calling for the transport to be abandoned on security
grounds. Irish campaigners separately delivered 1.3m postcards to UK
prime minister Tony Blair in a protest against Sellafield, designed
to mark the 16th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.