April 18, 2008 / 8:06 AM / 11 years ago

Japan's Hokkaido Electric applies to use MOX fuel

 TOKYO, April 18 (Reuters) - Japanese utility Hokkaido Electric Power Co (9509.T) said on Friday it applied for permission to use reprocessed atomic fuel at the No. 3 unit of its Tomari nuclear power generator in northern Japan from nearby communities and the prefecture.
 The move comes as Japan tries to move towards a “closed” domestic nuclear fuel cycle where it recycles its own spent fuel and then burns recovered uranium and plutonium as mixed-oxcide (MOX) fuel.
 However, MOX plutonium-uranium enriched fuel is controversial because critics fear it could be used to build nuclear weapons.
 So far no commercial reactors in Japan use the MOX fuel.
 Electric power companies have said they would like to have 16 to 18 plants using the reprocessed fuel by the business year ending March 2011, but it was unclear if the goal will be reached.
 With the latest move by Hokkaido Electric, the power industry is one step closer to its goal, although the goal was still difficult, Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, told reporters on Friday.
 Katsumata is the president of Japan’s top utility Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T).
 The following is a list of units of Japanese power companies that plan to use reprocessed fuel and their target dates to start operations by: Company, Plant          Unit               Target Date     ————————————————————————————————- Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T)
 NA                  3-4 units          NA ————————————————————————————————- Kansai Electric Power Co (9503.T)
 Ohi                 No.1 and No.2      March 2011
 Takahama            No.3 and No.4      March 2011  ———————————————————————————————— Chubu Electric Power Co (9502.T)
 Hamaoka             No.4               March 2011 ————————————————————————————————- Kyushu Electric Power Co (9508.T)
 Genkai              No.3               December 2010 ————————————————————————————————- Tohoku Electric Power Co (9506.T)
 Onagawa             No.2 or No.3       March 2011 ————————————————————————————————- Chugoku Electric Power Co (9504.T)
 Shimane             No.2               March 2011 ————————————————————————————————- Hokkaido Electric Power Co (9509.T)
 Tomari              No.3               March 2011 ————————————————————————————————- Shikoku Electric Power Co (9507.T)
 Ikata               No.3               March 2011 ————————————————————————————————- Hokuriku Electric Power Co (9505.T)
 Shika               NA                 NA ————————————————————————————————- Japan Atomic Power Co
 Tokai Daini         (1 unit)           March 2011
 Tsuruga             No.2               March 2011 ————————————————————————————————- J-Power (9513.T)
 Oma                 (1 unit)           March 2012 ————————————————————————————————-  (Reporting by James Topham and Osamu Tsukimori)   

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