Japanese fuel fabrication plant to restart

26 August 2022

Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Co (MNF) is to resume production of pressurised water reactor fuel at its refurbished Tokai plant after receiving approval from the Japanese nuclear regulator.

(Image: Pixabay)

The company said on 23 August that it had received a pre-use inspection pass certificate and a pre-use confirmation certificate from the Nuclear Regulation Authority. This means that MNF can resume production at the plant for the first time since 2018.

The NRA introduced new regulatory standards in 2013, following the Fukushima accident. MNF suspended production at the 440 tU per year Tokai fabrication plant in 2018 while construction work was carried out to meet the new requirements.

The company said it had applied to the NRA for a pre-use inspection of processing facilities in July 2018 and for pre-use confirmation in August 2020. These have now been received, and according to Nikkei, fuel fabrication is expected to begin before the end of this month.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has recently called for Japan to work to restart its idled nuclear power reactors and to look into an expansion of nuclear energy as the country tackles a crisis of tight power supply and demand. So far, ten of Japan's 39 operable reactors have cleared inspections confirming they meet the new regulatory safety standards imposed in 2013 and have resumed operation. Another 17 reactors have applied to restart. In 2021, nuclear energy provided just 7.2% of the country's electricity: before March 2011 nuclear generating capacity had provided around 30% of the country's electricity.

MNF is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News