By YUSUKE OGAWA/ Staff Writer
MARCOULE, France–Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) plans to transport 32 plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel assemblies from France to Japan in 2020 at the earliest to help reduce its stockpile overseas.
KEPCO plans to use the MOX fuel in the No. 3 and the No. 4 reactors of its Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, which would reduce its plutonium overseas by about one ton from the current 11 tons.
The MOX fuel was produced in France using plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel generated in Japanese nuclear power plants
KEPCO, based in Osaka, had asked French nuclear fuel company Orano (formerly Areva) to reprocess the spent nuclear fuel and extract plutonium from it.
In 2017, Orano concluded a contract with KEPCO to produce 32 MOX fuel assemblies.
Under the contract, Orano has extracted plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, which was transported from Japan, in its reprocessing plant in La Hague in northern France.
The French company plans to transport the plutonium to its facility in Marcoule, southern France, within 2019 to start production of MOX fuel.
Then, the MOX fuel will be transported from a port in Cherbourg, northern France, to the Takahama nuclear power plant in Japan on a sea route in 2020 at the earliest.
In the future, the three electric power companies of Kansai, Kyushu and Shikoku that are using MOX fuel could obtain plutonium from Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co., both of which can’t reduce their stockpiles as their reactors are idled.
In order to decrease stockpiles, it is most efficient to burn MOX fuel at Japanese nuclear power plants,” said Orano CEO Philippe Knoche.
Read more at KEPCO to ship MOX nuclear fuel assemblies from France in 2020