Ikata pluthermal plan basically OK: safety panel

The safety examination panel of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan raised no objections Wednesday to a plan use fuel with uranium and plutonium for the Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture, panel members said.

Questions were raised, however, about data on the safety of the plan for the No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s plant and a request was made for information on seismic activity in the area.

The panel is to give its opinion on the pluthermal project by the next round of talks.

Pluthermal, or plutonium-thermal power generation, burns plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel (MOX) made from spent fuel at nuclear reactors.

The utility plans to use MOX fuel at the 890,000-kw reactor but keep the MOX quota at less than 25 percent of the total fuel required for operation and fill the remainder with regular uranium fuel.

Shikoku Electric applied for government approval in November 2004 with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It determined the plan met its criteria and asked last July for further evaluation.