• Kyodo

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Aomori Gov. Shingo Mimura on Thursday accepted Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.’s request to build a plant to process plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel in the village of Rokkasho.

JNFL is expected to hold an executive board meeting Friday to approve a draft contract from Aomori Prefecture, paving the way for the two sides to sign the agreement along with Rokkasho as early as the beginning of next week.

Mimura said Aomori Prefecture and Rokkasho will each receive 980 million yen per year in central government subsidies for two years beginning fiscal 2006 in return for hosting the facility. The subsidies are in line with electricity provision laws.

The MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant will process plutonium and uranium from spent nuclear fuel into MOX fuel to be used in plutonium-thermal nuclear power plants.

JNFL said the MOX fuel plant is expected to have a maximum annual capacity of processing 130 tons of plutonium and uranium metallic content.

It will be built within the grounds of the existing Rokkasho nuclear spent-fuel reprocessing plant at an estimated construction cost of 120 billion yen. The two plants will be connected underground for the delivery of plutonium and uranium.

The plutonium-thermal energy project is a key element of the central government’s policy on nuclear fuel cycles. Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. are also proceeding with similar projects but have yet to set specific implementation targets.

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