News Watch

Barakah Unit 1 Enters Commercial Operation with Turbine and Generator from Toshiba

Toshiba Energy Systems announced on June 26 that the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Unit 1 reactor (PWR, 1400 MW) in the UAE had begun commercial operation with a turbine and generator it had supplied. These are also being provided for Units 2 to 4, which are currently under construction.


Total Operating Costs of Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant to Reach 14 Trillion Yen

Payment of contributions to the Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan (NROJ) for expenses incurred in reprocessing the amount of spent nuclear fuel generated in FY 2020 was approved on June 25 by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. These contributions are needed to secure a stable supply of funds in the future for reprocessing and related fabrication of MOX fuel. They are paid by NPP operators to NROJ based on the amount of spent fuel they produce in the course of generating power. Depending on the NPP operator, the approved rates run from 673 to 685 yen per gram of uranium.

  The sum total of reprocessing costs, upon which the unit prices are based, has risen from the previous year’s calculation by 500 billion yen, reaching 14.44 trillion yen, and the total operating costs for MOX fuel fabrication has risen by 90 billion yen to reach 2.43 trillion yen. The main reasons for the rising costs are explained as the reprocessing facility completion date being postponed from early 2021 to early 2022, along with rising maintenance costs and increased layouts for construction of accident countermeasures to meet the new regulatory standards. Likewise, regarding MOX fuel fabrication, the main reason costs are rising is said to be that the completion of fabrication facilities has been postponed from early 2022 to early 2024. At the same time, other costs have fallen due to factors such as reconsideration of plans for facility renovation, progress toward optimization of operation systems and renovation work, and consideration of more reasonable bases for estimations.


High Court Also Recognizes Hibakusha in ‘Black Rain’ Trial

In an appeal of a court decision from a suit that had recognized the granting of Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificates to 84 men and women from Hiroshima Prefecture (14 of whom are deceased), who had filed a suit complaining that their health had been harmed by “black rain,” which contained radioactive substances from the atomic bomb that had been dropped on Hiroshima, the Hiroshima High Court recognized all of the plaintiffs as hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) on July 14. In their case, the rain had fallen on them in places outside the areas designated by the national government as eligible for support, The court ordered the nation and the city and prefecture of Hiroshima to grant the plaintiffs Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificates, upholding the initial judgement of a year prior, and dismissing the defense’s appeal.

The black rain fell mostly to the northwest of the blast center starting from about 30 minutes after the explosion of the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima. The people in that region upon whom the black rain fell or who breathed in dust containing radioactive substances are hibakusha on account of fallout in the black rain.

The area in which the rain fell is divided into three main categories of heavy rain area, light rain area and a “rainfall area” that the prefecture and city of Hiroshima and others have claimed. Wanting to minimize the number of people receiving support under the Atomic Bomb Victims’ Relief Act (Act on Assistance for Atomic Bomb Survivors), the national government has recognized only the heavy rain area. Ten years ago, Hiroshima City enlisted the help of experts to conduct a survey, compiling a report that said the area in which the rain had fallen was about six times larger than the area designated by the national government and urged that the boundaries be reconsidered, but the national government rejected this.

The residents and descendants of residents outside the area eligible for support from the national government filed a suit in the Hiroshima District Court in November 2015 asking that the rejection of their applications for Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificates be rescinded. On July 29 of last year, the district court recognized all of the plaintiffs as hibakusha.

The defendants in the suit were Hiroshima City and Hiroshima Prefecture, with the national government intervening as a co-party. The city and prefecture, who had been entrusted by the national government with matters such as granting certificates and had been put in the painful position of having to reject applications despite their real feelings about it, asked the national government to refrain from appealing the decision. On July 25, the national government agreed not to appeal, clearing the way to finally issue the hibakusha with certificates.

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