Fuel cycle ‘study meeting’ decried by recycling foes

JIJI

The Japan Atomic Energy Commission distributed a report on policy options for maintaining the nuclear fuel cycle to a group of fuel recycling proponents before it had even discussed the draft, it was learned Thursday.

Since only the proponents were invited to the study meeting — including the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy — the commission is expected to come under fire. The Japan Atomic Energy Commission is a panel under the Cabinet Office.

Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy panel, said he convened a subcommittee to hold the study meeting as it had no choice but to ask Japan Nuclear Fuel to provide the recycling estimates.

Since his subcommittee discussed the draft in public, its final report, compiled May 16, was not swayed by the meeting, he said.

Suzuki and the secretariat of the Japan Atomic Energy panel said estimates were presented at the meeting for three options — complete fuel recycling, partial reprocessing combined with disposal, and total disposal.

The meeting was attended by about 30 people, including Suzuki, who chairs the subcommittee, and representatives from the Cabinet Office, the power federation, Japan Nuclear Fuel and the resources agency.

The commission asked the participants to check for mistakes in the draft, which was based on the cost estimates, Suzuki and the secretariat said.

Views expressed included one for keeping a fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, they said.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura denied the report was rewritten in favor of nuclear fuel cycling advocates.