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Interview: Mutsu mayor shows discomfort over joint N-fuel facility plan

  • February 19, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 6:54 p.m.
  • English Press

Mutsu, Aomori Pref., Feb. 19 (Jiji Press)–The mayor of Mutsu has expressed his displeasure with a lack of sufficient explanations to local residents on a proposal for major Japanese power suppliers to jointly use a facility being built in the northeastern Japan city for the storage of spent nuclear fuel on a temporary basis.

“We can’t have discussions on the premise of joint use” of the facility in the Aomori Prefecture city, the mayor, Soichiro Miyashita, said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

Miyashita said that how to proceed with a plan based on a pact on the facility’s location that was reached in 2005 by the Mutsu municipal and Aomori prefectural governments, Tokyo Electric Power Co., now Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501>, and Japan Atomic Power Co. “should be the starting point of the discussion” before a study on the possible joint use of the facility.

According to the plan proposed by TEPCO and Japan Atomic Power, the facility would be designed for the temporary storage of 5,000 tons of spent fuel from nuclear power plants of the two companies.

No explanation has been made by TEPCO, Japan Atomic Power or Mutsu-based Recyclable-Fuel Storage Co., a joint venture set up by the two firms to manage the facility, about a possible change to the initial plan, following a recent proposal by the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan that other power suppliers also be allowed to use the facility, Miyashita said.

The mayor noted that the lack of explanations about the consistency between the initial plan and the joint use proposal is a “factor increasing a sense of distrust.”

The city of Mutsu decided to “host the facility in the belief that it can contribute to the country’s energy policy, as well as in order to draw up a vision for the future of children and local communities,” he said.

The sudden proposal for the shared use of the facility “doesn’t link to the region’s future,” he said, noting that the joint use plan may suggest that the power industry is “forgetting the principle of the nuclear facility location policy,” which should take account of local communities.

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