The mayor of Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, urged Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday to apply with his city to build “interim” storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel.

Masashi Sugiyama made the request during a meeting with Tepco President Tsunehisa Katsumata at the utility’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Sugiyama told the Mutsu Municipal Assembly on June 26 that he would invite Tepco to set up the facilities.

The nation’s largest utility now plans to apply to the Mutsu municipal and Aomori prefectural governments for permission to use the site.

It will survey geological and meteorological conditions before applying for a construction permit from the national government, sources said.

Tepco has proposed building two interim storage facilities capable of handling 5,000 to 6,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel at Mutsu’s Sekinehama port. It has said it wants to put one facility into operation by 2010.

Sometime within 40 years of the beginning of operations, Tepco and the city will discuss when the stored spent fuel will be removed.

Nuclear power plants in Japan are currently storing their spent fuel. Many are expected to reach capacity around 2010.

Power companies are thus hoping to build interim facilities to store the spent fuel for around 50 years.

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