First quarter of 2000

MITI press statement on meetings with british authorities : MITI requests now the return of the incriminated MOX to the UK

Tokyo, 10 February 2000

[Posted 11/02/2000]

1. From 7 to 10 February, Mrs Anna Walker, Director General for Energy DTI had several talks with Japanese authorities:
MITI, MOFA and other Japanese agencies concerned.

2. The UK side expressed the UK Government's deep regret and conveyed sincere apologies on behalf of BNFL.

3. Both sides had fruitful discussions on a number of matters.

4. NII reports

Laurence Williams, the Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations in the UK's independent regulatory body, the Health & Safety Executive, gave the Japanese government information on their report into the falsification of Quality Assurance at BNFL's MOX Demonstration Facility. This report will be published by the HSE on 18 February 2000. (Other NII reports not directly concerning this issue will also be published on the same day)

The report into data falsification at BNFL's MOX Demonstration Facility will set out the NII's findings on the extent of the falsification, the surrounding circumstances, the implications for the safety of the fuel and the remedial measures to be put into place.

5. DTI Presentation

The DTI delegation also explained the investigations being undertaken by BNFL into the falsification and the remedial measures planned by BNFL to rebuild confidence.
They stressed the desire of BNFL and the UK Gov't to have the Japanese gov'ts and BNFL's customer's views on the remedial strategy to ensure that the measures ultimately implemented fully meet their concerns.

6. Response of GOJ

The Japanese Gov't expressed its intention to contribute comments on the NII report and BNFL's plans after 18 February based upon full consideration of these matters.

7. Issues relating to the Return of Fuel

The Japanese side required that the UK side without delay make proposals for what to do with the fuel remaining at Takahama site, since, in their view, the UK side is responsible for what happened to the fuel. MITI requested to the UK side to send the fuel back to the UK.

The UK Government recognized the seriousness of the issue and the need to resolve it as soon as possible. However, this was a complex matter which raised contractual issues and also involved both Governments. The UK Government resolved to contribute its views, looking at all the options including sending the fuel back to the UK, as soon as possible.

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