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Aomori Gov. Morio Kimura expressed a positive stance Friday toward a controversial project to take in spent nuclear fuel at a new recycling facility under construction in Rokkasho Village.

Because the country has yet to develop the means to dispose of high-level radioactive waste material and plutonium abstracted through the recycling of spent nuclear fuel, Kimura has been reluctant to give the project the green light because of the concerns of local residents.

On Friday, Kimura discussed the issue with International Trade and Industry Minister Mitsuo Horiuchi and Science and Technology Agency chief Sadakatsu Tanigaki at a Tokyo hotel, to reaffirm the central government’s nuclear energy policy.

During the meeting, Kimura reiterated his concern that if the country fails to develop the means to dispose of radioactive waste after the process of recycling, such hazardous materials would “end up left abandoned” in his prefecture, according to officials at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Horiuchi and Tanigaki, for their part, reassured the governor by explaining that the government is in the process of persuading local officials in Fukui, Fukushima and Niigata prefectures to cooperate in a project to incinerate abstracted plutonium at their existing light-water reactors there.

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