• Kyodo


A Greenpeace ship set sail Tuesday for Japan to protest the planned transportation of rejected plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel to Britain.

The Arctic Sunrise left Hong Kong at noon with an international contingent of around 20 activists, said Luisa Tam, a local spokeswoman for the environmental group.

“Our fellow Greenpeace activists will protest against this dangerous and unnecessary plutonium material shipment from Japan to Britain,” Tam said.

The MOX fuel is currently stored at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s nuclear power plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture.

A British nuclear-fuel transport ship, the Pacific Pintail, has arrived at the nuclear reactor port on the Sea of Japan coast and is due to be loaded within the next few weeks with the rejected material to take back to British Nuclear Fuels PLC, the fuel’s manufacturer.

The shipment is being conducted in the wake of a scandal in which BNFL falsified manufacturing data for MOX fuel shipped to Kansai Electric in 1999.

Following the scandal, plans to use the fuel for the first time in Japan were canceled.

The Greenpeace protest vessel is expected to arrive in Takahama early next week and will stay in Japan for two weeks, Tam said.

The Arctic Sunrise was last in Japan in 1999, protesting the delivery of the same MOX fuel that the Pacific Pintail is scheduled to load.

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