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Rokkasho reprocessing plant to cost 1.3 trillion yen more than previous gov’t estimate

By Yuta Sato

 

The Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan (NURO), the corporation authorized by the government to oversee the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from power plants, announced on July 18, that after having reassessed the total reprocessing plant costs, the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, will cost 1.3 trillion yen more than the government’s 2016 estimate, bringing the total to 13.9 trillion yen. The upward revision of the estimate is attributed to increased construction costs required to meet Japan’s more stringent safety standards.  

 

The total costs of the project include operating the plant for 40 years after construction and then decommissioning it. According to NURO, the construction costs required to fulfill the new safety measures mandated by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which involve enhanced preparedness against earthquakes and other natural disasters, have increased from the previous estimate of 40 billion yen to 750 billion. Construction costs are expected to total at least 2.95 trillion yen. In addition, construction costs for the plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel processing plant are estimated to total 2.3 trillion yen.

 

The total project costs were calculated by NURO based on estimates provided by Japan Nuclear Fuel, which has been contracted to handle the actual reprocessing work. Japan Nuclear Fuel is hoping that the reprocessing plant will be completed by the first half of FY2018, however, delays are expected after false reports were found in relation to a safety rule violation.

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