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)