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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Start of Rokkasho plant postponed again

September 14, 2017



Work to be delayed for nuclear recycling plant




The planned completion of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture is expected to be difficult by the first half of fiscal 2018, because of problems involving inflow of rainwater.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority indicated on Wednesday that the plant in Rokkasho Village, northeastern Japan, which is supposed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, will not pass screening until its safety is ensured for the entire facility. Passing the screening is a precondition for full-scale operation of the plant, which is a pillar of the government's nuclear fuel recycling program.

The decision will force the operator Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited to delay its plan to complete the plant as planned.

Last month, workers at the plant found that rainwater has been flowing through underground pipes into a building where an emergency power generator is installed. It was also revealed that the underground tunnel for the piping has not been inspected for 14 years.

The operator says it will present an inspection plan by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2018.

But observers say the screening process will likely be significantly extended. They say it will also take a long time to gain approval for detailed plant designs and to pass inspection, making it difficult to complete the plant as scheduled.

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