Japan - Plutonium Investigation n°2

The International MOX Assessment Project (IMA)

This project is directed by Dr. Jinzaburo Takagi, after a two year study period, issued its final report in November 1997 (see "Subscription" to order a copy).
A certain number of recommendations was made to Japanese politicians, institutions and organisations; these recommendations are undoubtedly applicable to many other countries. Here are three extracts treating transparency, interim storage and MOX fuel fabrication:

On Transparency
The classification of information concerning nuclear matters should be entirely reviewed by a Commission, set up under the auspices of the Diet, its members should stem from civil society and be independent of any nuclear interests. The Commission should elaborate recommendations as to relevant future restrictions of access to information. The principle to be achieved is that information on nuclear matters is a priori public, and confidentiality, if ever necessary, has to be justified on a case by case basis.

On Interim Storage of Spent Fuel
Consultations should be engaged immediately with local governments and residents on potential intermediate storage sites for spent fuel. These locations include reactor sites as well as away-from-reactor facilities. The prior aim of the consultations should be the evaluation of the conditions for the acceptability of interim storage for spent fuel currently covered by reprocessing contracts. Additional intermediate spent fuel storage capacity should be evaluated in a second step preceded by the elaboration of alternative energy scenarios, including the phasing out of the operation of a given nuclear plant.

On MOX Fuel Fabrication
The Japanese utilities have signed contracts with European MOX manufacturers before any impact assessment of its use in Japanese light water reactors has been accomplished and before any license for its use has been granted. These agreements should be cancelled, the utilities should not be permitted to build up a fait accompli in the debate over plutonium production and use in Japan.

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