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70 years to decommission Tokai?

September 8, 2016

Decommissioning plan at Tokai questioned by NRA


Japan's nuclear regulator has questioned an industry agency's plan that says it will take about 70 years to scrap a spent fuel reprocessing facility. The regulator calls the plan too vague.

Two years ago Japan Atomic Energy Agency, based in Tokai Village north of Tokyo, decided to decommission a facility for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

The massive costs needed to reform the plant to meet new government regulations after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident led to the decision.

On Thursday the agency proposed a timeline to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for shutting down the facility.

The schedule says it will take about 70 years overall to take out nuclear waste, demolish and remove equipment, and decontaminate buildings.

The operator says if it were an ordinary reactor, it would take about 30 years, but the scrapping of a reprocessing plant needs more time. It cites many kinds of nuclear waste as well as the volume, and more buildings.

But experts at the NRA pointed out that the agency's plan lacked detail. The agency officials promised to submit a revised plan by the end of November.

The agency plans to formally apply for the decommissioning during fiscal 2017. But whether it can present a detailed plan is unclear as how to process some of the nuclear waste and where to store it have not been decided.

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