Industry minister to continue nuclear fuel cycle policy

January 18, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The government will continue pursuing its nuclear fuel cycle policy, an expensive and problem-plagued recycling project whose future was in doubt under the previous administration.

“The significance (of the policy) will not change. We will continue it as a national policy,” industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Shingo Mimura, the governor of Aomori Prefecture, on Jan. 17.

Under the program, spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed for reuse in nuclear reactors.

In Aomori Prefecture, a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is under construction in Rokkasho and an intermediate storage facility is being built in Mutsu. Operations have yet to get under way in the reprocessing facility because of a series of mishaps.

“I think construction will steadily progress toward completion,” Motegi said.

Before being dumped from power in December, the Democratic Party of Japan adopted a policy to phase out nuclear power by the end of the 2030s. That pledge raised questions about the future of the nuclear cycle policy and if Aomori Prefecture would be stuck with high-level radioactive waste from the reprocessing procedures.

“We will strictly keep the promise (not to make Aomori Prefecture a final disposal site),” Motegi told Mimura.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • A nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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