Tokai nuclear fuel plant to take 70 years to decommission: JAEA

Kyodo

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has revealed it will take about 70 years to fully dismantle its nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture.

It is the first time that the agency has given a specific time frame for the decommissioning process since it decided in 2014 to close the facility due to the difficulty of meeting the heavy costs of tighter safety regulations adopted following the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns.

It usually requires 30 years to decommission regular nuclear power plants, but the project for the spent-fuel reprocessing plant in Ibaraki Prefecture is expected to require more time as it has around 30 buildings and large areas are contaminated with radioactive substances.

Some parts of the decommissioning project have not been finalized, including where to dispose of waste materials created during demolition work.

The JAEA revealed the 70-year time frame when it presented its plan for decommissioning the facility at a meeting Thursday with the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The facility in Tokai started full-fledged operation in 1981 as part of Japan’s fuel cycle policy, which is aimed at reprocessing all spent nuclear fuel and reusing the extracted plutonium and uranium as reactor fuel.