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ECONOMY > Energy

METI minister denies any change in MOX fuel reprocessing policy

  • September 5, 2018
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

In response to a Kyodo News report that 10 electric power companies stopped funding the reprocessing of mixed plutonium-uranium oxide (MOX) fuel in FY16 and have effectively given up on MOX reprocessing, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko stated at a news conference on Sept. 4: “This is totally false and extremely regrettable. There has been no change in policy. We will steadily promote the nuclear fuel cycle.”


A Kyodo dispatch reported that since the government set up the Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan (NuRO) in 2016 and has been paying subsidies to NuRO based on the amount of fuel used at nuclear power plants without distinguishing between regular nuclear fuel and MOX, the reserve fund for MOX reprocessing is being used for the existing reprocessing plants in practice. Seko explained, “The subsidies are for the cost of reprocessing all nuclear fuel, including MOX fuel. It is simply a question of the utilities’ changing their accounting methods.”


The Federation of Electric Power Companies also published a statement on its website on Sept. 4 saying “it is not true that reprocessing of MOX fuel has been abandoned.”


Kyodo’s editorial board says, “The report was based on solid information gathering. We will continue to gather information and report on this issue.”

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