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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Which policy for nuclear waste?

June 21, 2012

Panel proposes 3 options for nuclear disposal




Japan's Atomic Energy Commission has put forward 3 options that the country could take to replace the policy of recycling all spent nuclear fuel.

The commission has been reviewing the country's long-standing policy of recycling spent fuel since the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March last year raised doubts about the viability of the policy.

In a meeting on Thursday, the commission decided to submit to the government a proposal in which it says Japan could take one of 3 options depending on the extent to which the country depends on nuclear power generation in the year 2030.

The commission says if Japan has stopped nuclear power generation by then, it would be appropriate to dispose of all leftover spent fuel by burying it deep underground.

It says if Japan still depends at that time on nuclear power for about 15 percent of its electricity needs, it would be appropriate to recycle some of the spent fuel.

The commission says if Japan decides to maintain a 20 to 25 percent dependency on nuclear power generation, it would be preferable to recycle all of the spent fuel.

The government will draw up Japan's long-term energy policy by this summer, based on the proposals by the commission.

A working group of the commission came under fire recently when it was found to have distributed a draft report of the proposal to advocates of nuclear power generation, including power company and government officials.

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