Data: Japan’s Separated Plutonium Inventory (as at 2009)

Japan’s inventory of separated plutonium at the end of 2009 was published on September 7, 2010 by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission. The end of year inventory has been published for each year since 1993. A shipment from France of 1,508 kgHM of plutonium oxide arrived in Japan in January 1993. The shipment caused an international uproar. Japan responded by publishing its plutonium inventory in an attempt to increase transparency. The figures published were for “total plutonium”, but since 2006 the figures for Japanese plutonium held in France and the UK have only been published for “fissile plutonium”, making precise calculation of Japan’s total plutonium holdings difficult.

Japan’s pluthermal program (using MOX fuel) began in 2009, ten years later than planned. Plutonium shipped and loaded into reactors is reflected in the figures in these tables. The 1,458 tons of plutonium held as “Unirradiated new fuel at reactor sites etc.” includes 210 kg at Fukushima I-3 (TEPCO), 205 kg at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa-3 (TEPCO), 213 kg at Hamaoka-4 (Chubu) and 831 kg at Ikata-3 (Shikoku). (The figures don’t add up due to rounding.) The plutonium held at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) reactors was shipped there in MOX fuel over ten years ago. The plutonium held at Chubu Electric’s and Shikoku Electric’s reactors arrived in MOX fuel from France in May 2009. MOX fuel for Kyushu Electric’s Genkai-3 plant (677 kg) also arrived in May 2009, but it was loaded in the same year, so it is included in “Plutonium loaded in nuclear reactors” under “Separated Plutonium in Use”. The remaining 669 kg of the total 1,345 kg plutonium loaded in nuclear reactors was loaded in Monju last year. (Monju started up in May this year.)

Shipment of MOX fuel from France is the reason for the reduction in the figure for plutonium “Recovered in France”. Note that it is not possible to reconcile the figures precisely, because only “fissile plutonium” is shown for plutonium held overseas. The increase in plutonium “Recovered in the UK” is due to the allocation of plutonium from reprocessed spent fuel.

Hideyuki Ban (CNIC Co-Director)

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