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The semigovernmental Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) said Monday it will move the site of a planned nuclear reactor in Oma, Aomori Prefecture, because it could not persuade landowners to sell their property.

J-Power President Yoshihiko Nakagaki briefed Aomori Gov. Morio Kimura on plans to relocate the advanced boiling water reactor 200 meters to the south, the Tokyo-based firm said.

It is rare for a builder of a nuclear plant to implement such a major change in a construction plan.

The change means that J-Power will have to resubmit documents to win government approval for the plan’s revision.

As a result, the 470 billion yen project is expected to be delayed 2 1/2 years. Originally, construction was scheduled to be begin in 2004, with the plant set to start operating in 2009.

The reactor, a light-water type, would provide one of the largest power-generation capacities in Japan, at 1.38 million kw.

The planned Oma plant is based on the government’s so-called pluthermal program, in which uranium-plutonium mixed oxide fuel is burned in a light-water reactor.

Pluthermal is short for plutonium-thermal, and the program is thought essential for the creation of a nuclear fuel cycle in which plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel is burned to generate electricity.

Construction of the Oma reactor is expected to give a push to the government’s pluthermal program, which has been plagued by safety concerns as well as data falsification and other scandals in recent years.

In December, Oma asked J-Power to change the location in view of opposition by the landowners holding onto their property at the planned site.

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