MOX ships making deliveries

05 July 2010

A consignment of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel that set sail from Europe in April has been delivered to its Japanese destinations. The 12 fuel assemblies destined for Takahama 4 and 20 assemblies for Genkai 3 were loaded on two of PNTL's purpose-built nuclear transport ships, and departed from the French port of Cherbourg on 8 April. After sailing around the Cape of Good Hope and through the south-west Pacific, the shipment arrived in Japanese waters in June. The fuel, on board the Pacific Pintail and the Pacific Heron, was safely delivered to Genkai on 28 June and Takahama on 30 June. The MOX fuel contains plutonium recovered from spent fuel by reprocessing. Spent fuel from Japan, and other countries, has been routinely reprocessed in Europe, with MOX fuel and high-level waste being returned in such transports. However, Japan is working towards opening its own MOX fabrication facility, and has not sent spent fuel to Europe for reprocessing since 1998.