Sixth MOX nuclear shipment leaves France for Japan

protesterssaProtesters say the nuclear shipment is too dangerous

 

A cargo of reprocessed nuclear fuel containing highly radioactive plutonium left the French port of Cherbourg for Japan under heavy security on Wednesday as demonstrators protested against the transport.

The controversial shipment from a plant of the French nuclear group Areva located some 20 kilometres (12 miles) away arrived at the port before dawn aboard two trucks escorted by dozens of security vehicles as a helicopter flew overhead.

Around 20 Greenpeace activists carried protest banners and threw smoke bombs at the convoy shortly before it arrived at the port.

It is the sixth shipment of mixed oxide (MOX), a blend of plutonium and uranium, from France to Japan since 1999.

“We are warning of how dangerous this shipment is and especially the risk of nuclear proliferation and the possible diversion for military purposes,” Greenpeace France activist Yannick Rousselet told AFP.

Areva spokesman Alexandre Marinot described the cargo as being of “a maximum safety level.”

Uranium reactors produce a mixture of depleted uranium and plutonium as a by-product of fission. These can be re-processed into MOX fuel, which can then be used in other reactors to generate more power.

Japan has few energy resources of its own and relied on nuclear power for nearly one-third of its domestic electricity needs until the 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima plant.

On Tuesday, the Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire (Nuclear Phase-Out) said in a statement: “Areva profits from selling this dangerous fuel to a country devastated by a nuclear accident to supply reactors whose resumption the Japanese people reject.”

There are currently five reactors in operation in Japan compared with 54 before the Fukushima accident.

https://m.phys.org/news/2017-07-sixth-mox-nuclear-shipment-france.html?utm_source=nwletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-nwletter

 

 

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16 Assemblies of Mox to be shipped to Japan from France

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As a reminder a transport of 16 assemblies of MOX (between 8 and 10 tons) is being prepared.
This MOX is destined for the nuclear reactor of Takahama n ° 4.
The Pacific Egret and the Pacific Heron, “armed to the teeth” are on the departure of Barrow-In-Furness in England to come to Cherbourg.
The transfer of brand new trucks (equipped with shielding type protection) loaded with MOX will take place late on Tuesday evening.
The loading will take place on Wednesday 5th (as I had announced a few weeks ago at the meeting of the CLI Areva de La Hague) in the morning at the Quai des Mielles and the boats should leave the port of Cherbourg in the evening.
Source: Yannick Rousselet – Greenpeace France

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Japan restarts another reactor

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TOKYO: A Japanese utility Wednesday switched on a nuclear reactor, the latest to come back in service despite deep public opposition in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis.

Japan shut down all of its dozens of reactors after a powerful earthquake in March 2011 spawned a huge tsunami that led to meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing the world’s worst such accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

But only a handful of reactors have come back online due to public opposition and as legal cases work their way through the courts.

On Wednesday, Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) restarted the No 4 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant after a court in March cleared the move.

The latest restart at the plant in Fukui prefecture, some 350 kilometers (215 miles) west of Tokyo, came after court battles that lasted more than a year during which a district court near Fukui ordered KEPCO to suspend operations.

The Fukui government, where the nuclear industry is a major employer, approved the reactor’s restart but concerned residents in neighboring Shiga prefecture asked their local court to stop the move.

The region’s appeals court in Osaka finally ruled in March that KEPCO could restart two of the four reactors at Takahama.

Shigeki Iwane, KEPCO president, announced the restart in a statement.

“We will… carefully continue our work with discipline and regard safety as the priority,” he said.

Shiga governor Taizo Mikazuki voiced frustration and urged the national government to reduce its reliance on nuclear power, saying his prefecture would be greatly impacted in the event of an accident.

He said the environment was not right for a restart.

“Local residents hold profound anxiety about nuclear plants,” he said in a written statement.

“The government should change the current energy policy that relies on nuclear plants at the earliest possible time,” he said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has steadily promoted nuclear energy, calling it essential to powering the world’s third-largest economy.

https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/World/2017/May-17/406167-japan-restarts-another-reactor.ashx

Japan restarts fourth atomic reactor since 2012 moratorium

Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama No. 4 reactor in Fukui Prefecture on Friday became the nation’s fourth to be restarted since 2012 and the first to burn MOX, a mixed-oxide fuel that contains plutonium.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Kepco President Makoto Yagi said safety would remain the top priority and that the utility would continue to promote safety standards beyond what was legally required.

The startup came nearly a week after a radioactive water leak was discovered at the reactor’s auxiliary building on Feb. 20. Kepco halted restart preparations while it repaired the leak, saying it did not pose a danger to the environment.

The utility said earlier this week the leak was caused by a loose pipe valve and could be repaired without affecting the restart schedule, which called for rebooting the unit by the end of this month.

Under Kepco’s schedule for the restart process, the No. 4 reactor is expected to start generating electricity by Monday afternoon and reach full power a few days later. Once the Nuclear Regulation Authority gives final approval, and assuming there are no last-minute technical problems, the plan is to have it back online and selling electricity from late March, just before the end of fiscal 2015.

The restart of Takahama No. 4 comes about a month after the nuclear power plant’s No. 3 reactor was restarted. Along with two reactors at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant, which went back online last August, they comprise the four reactors that have been restarted since beefed-up nuclear safety standards took effect in 2012.

In addition to No. 3 and No. 4, which are at least 30 years old, Kepco also wants to restart Takahama Nos. 1 and 2, both of which are over 40. It hopes to run them for up to two decades. Despite concerns about the increased probability of accidents at the aged plants, their restart moved a step closer to reality on Wednesday, when the NRA said additional safety systems Kepco installed to extend the reactors’ life spans met its standards.

The next step will be soliciting public comment, and then further permission from the NRA is required for what would be the first-ever extensions in Japan of reactors over 40 years old.

Before that happens, Kepco will seek final permission from the mayor of Takahama and the governor of Fukui Prefecture for the restart, which could be a lengthy process. The utility may also find itself forced to deal with public and political concerns in surrounding Kansai prefectures like Shiga and Kyoto, where safety concerns about the aged reactors are strong.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/26/national/japan-restarts-fourth-atomic-reactor-since-2012-moratorium/#.VtC5r-bzN_l