Energy

Japan's Possession of Plutonium Decreased to 30.1 Tons Last Year

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Japan had 30.1 tons of fissile plutonium in total at home and abroad at the end of 2010, according to a report submitted by the Japanese Cabinet Office to its Atomic Energy Commission.

This is down 0.9 ton from a year earlier for the second consecutive yearly drop, the report said noting that The total possession consisted of 6.7 tons in Japan, down 0.2 ton, and 23.4 tons in Britain and France, down 0.7 ton, where spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed on behalf of Japan .

Japan's possession of plutonium, which had kept increasing in the past, began to decrease with the use of plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, or MOX, which contains plutonium extracted from spent fuel, at the No. 3 reactor of Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture in November 2009, Kyodo reported.

The total possession consisted of 6.7 tons in Japan, down 0.2 ton, and 23.4 tons in Britain and France, down 0.7 ton, where spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed on behalf of Japan, according to the report. The amount of plutonium kept in Britain and France does not include the radioactive element contained in spent nuclear fuel before reprocessing, it said.

In 2010, MOX began to be used for ''pluthermal,'' or plutonium-thermal, power generation by the No. 3 reactor of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, the No. 3 reactor of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, and the No. 3 reactor of Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture.

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan plans to begin pluthermal power generation at 16 to 18 nuclear reactors by fiscal 2015, according to Kyodo. But the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster, has overshadowed pluthermal plans.

PanOrient News



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