• Kyodo


Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. is set to ask the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, and the prefectural government for permission to build a plant there to produce mixed uranium and plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel, JNFL officials said.

JNFL, based in Aomori, will file an official request with the prefectural and village governments after providing details of the facility, the officials said Tuesday. The firm aims to have the factory up and running some time between 2008 and 2009.

MOX fuel — made by mixing uranium with plutonium chemically extracted from spent nuclear fuel — powers light-water nuclear reactors.

The officials said JNFL is ready to make the request after completing examinations of a basic plan of the factory and technical information obtained from a French nuclear-fuel company.

JNFL will also undertake a drastic organizational change in preparation for moving its head office to the village.

JNFL is commissioned to build the 120 billion yen plant by nine major power utilities and Japan Atomic Power Co.

The 120 billion yen plant, with the involvement of Tokyo Electric Power Co., is expected to have an annual output capacity of 130 tons.

Under Japan’s so-called pluthermal project, the government is to establish a system to efficiently utilize precious uranium resources. The project calls for recycling the nuclear fuel — burned at existing nuclear plants — to manufacture MOX fuel.

JNFL is now building a nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho from which plutonium will be chemically extracted.

The plant is expected to commence full operations in July 2005.

The planned MOX factory is to be adjacent to the reprocessing plant. It will make MOX fuel by using plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel at the reprocessing plant.

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