Completion of Rokkasho reprocessing plant delayed

05 March 2008

[Atoms in Japan, 5 March] Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd (JNFL) has announced that the scheduled completion of its Rokkasho reprocessing plant has been put back from February to May. In September 2007, the company postponed completion from November to February due to erroneous seismic designs in some equipment. However, in November it was decided that additional data and inspections of the melting furnace at the vitrification facility were necessary. The inspection of the furnace interior and the removal of residual substances will continue until mid-March. Trial operation of the glass-melting furnace is expected to resume by the end of March. As a result of those changes, JNFL has filed an application with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to change the work plan for the plant. The amount of fuel reprocessed in the financial year to 31 March 2008 has been reduced from 315 tonnes to 210 tonnes. Plans now call for the plant to reprocess 395 tonnes, 480 tonnes and 640 tonnes, respectively, over the following years (compared with previous plans for 330, 493 and 653 tonnes, respectively). The plant is now planned to receive 444 tonnes of spent fuel in the year to end of March 2009, compared with 551 tonnes previously planned. Starting in financial year 2011, both spent fuel and reprocessing will proceed at an annual rate of 800 tonnes.