protest against Kansai Electric Power Company’s recent transportation
of uranium-and-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel to Japan. The electric
power company should withdraw from spent fuel reprocessing and
plutonium utilization in this country. Regarding the plutonium already
extracted from spent fuels, the company should discontinue the
pluthermal project, which loads MOX fuel into reactors, and pursue the
treatment and disposal of plutonium as waste.
The recent MOX fuel transportation to Japan was once
postponed “in consideration of the conditions following the earthquake
off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku” (Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO)
press release). We suspect that the reason why KEPCO has changed this
policy and carried out the transportation is that Japan’s Nuclear
Regulation Authority’s new regulation standards are scheduled to take
effect soon, in July, and the company intends to push for the restart
of its Takahama Nuclear Power Station, where MOX fuel is planned to be
loaded. However, agreements necessary to restart Takahama have not yet
been signed. It would be egregious and totally unacceptable if the
company restarted Takahama in an unreasonable, high-handed manner, as
it did when restarting the Ohi Nuclear Power Station without settling
the dispute concerning faults.
The Fukushima Daiichi accident nullified past safety
evaluation results and the agreements with local governments concerning
the pluthermal project. We believe that the project should be
discontinued, but if KEPCO intends to continue it, the company should
request the reimplementation of the safety evaluations, and obtain
agreements from local governments based on the new evaluation results.
The pluthermal project should be properly positioned in the renewed
safety measures strengthened after the Fukushima accident, and
severe-accident countermeasures should be established in consideration
of loaded MOX fuel.
That KEPCO shows no sign of taking these minimal
actions, but is proceeding with the pluthermal project in the
conventional manner, is proof that the company regards the Fukushima
Daiichi accident as someone else’s problem and is making no attempt to
learn from the accident. What KEPCO is doing is an act of barbarism.
In addition, the method for treating and disposing
of spent MOX fuel emanating from the pluthermal project is unknown.
Constructing a second spent fuel reprocessing plant in addition to the
Rokkasho reprocessing plant is utterly unimaginable. The spent MOX fuel
will need to be disposed of without reprocessing. MOX fuel disposal is
also more difficult than spent uranium fuels and would need to be
placed under control for far longer than spent uranium fuels. As a
company that will produce such spent nuclear fuels, KEPCO is required
to handle the cumbersome spent MOX fuel under its own responsibility,
but no such intention can be seen from the company’s attitude. In fact,
KEPCO is even attempting to pass the responsibility on to the Japanese
government in a repeat of truly irresponsible behavior
If KEPCO took the unprecedented nuclear accident of
March 2011 seriously and made a cool assessment of the countermeasures
to be taken and the responsibilities faced in the case of a severe
accident of a reactor loaded with MOX fuel, KEPCO should understand
that the loading of MOX fuel is a totally irrational act. The loading
of MOX fuel into nuclear reactors is something that should never happen.
Go to MOX Shipments page
Go to MOX and Pluthermal page
Return to NIT 155 contents