Plan To Scrap Fuel Reprocessing Plant Approved

Plan to scrap fuel reprocessing plant approved

Japan's nuclear regulators have approved a plan to decommission reprocessing facilities near Tokyo for spent nuclear fuel.

Located in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture, the complex has Japan's first reprocessing plant which started operations in 1981.

The operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority last June to scrap all the facilities at the complex. It said it would cost too much to refurbish them to meet new government regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

At a meeting on Wednesday, NRA officials approved the plan, while stressing the importance of sharing know-how regarding the decommissioning work and radiation management.

They said the NRA's secretariat, which supervises the agency, should see that this is done.

The reprocessing complex has about 30 facilities including those for extracting uranium and plutonium from spent nuclear fuel.

The agency estimates it will take 70 years to dismantle all of them, at a cost of about a trillion yen, or 9 billion dollars. The Japanese government is to shoulder most of the cost.