A member of the Atomic Energy Commission said Tuesday that spent nuclear fuel reprocessing should be implemented only when it becomes clear that plutonium extracted in the process will be used for commercial reactors.

The proposal was made after major utilities gave up on devising a plan by the end of the month on how to use the roughly 0.4 ton of fissile plutonium that is to be extracted via reprocessing during the next fiscal year, given uncertainty over the resumption of nuclear reactors.

"Under the current sequence, first a reprocessing plan is submitted and then where to use plutonium is considered . . . and that leads to an increase in stocks," Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman of the commission, said during a meeting Tuesday.