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TEPCO, industry ministry secretly agreed to abandon nuclear reprocessing plant in 2002 via The Mainichi Daily News

Senior officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) held a top secret discussion in 2002 about abandoning the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant project, the Mainichi has learned.

The Mainichi obtained a memo written by a METI official with the names of the participants — then TEPCO Chairman Hiroshi Araki, President Nobuya Minami, Vice President Tsunehisa Katsumata and METI Administrative Vice Minister Katsusada Hirose — the date, and the meeting’s objective, as well as comments from those who were believed to have been involved. This marks the first time that such top-level deliberations between TEPCO and METI have come to light.

The pros and cons of the nuclear fuel cycle, including whether to continue with or abandon the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture are set to undergo review, and the revelation that TEPCO and METI officials were already suggesting abandonment of a nuclear reprocessing project — a major pillar of the nuclear fuel cycle vision — nine years ago is likely to affect the new national nuclear policy that the Japan Atomic Energy Commission of the Cabinet Office is slated to draw up by the summer of 2012.

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