Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Public meetings held in six cities

February 25, the prefectural government held public meetings in the city of Aomori and Rokkasho village. At each meeting, JNFL, central ministries, and the prefectural government explained their standpoint and views on the active testing, and responded to the questions from the audience. The active test, a reprocessing test using real spent fuels, is planned to start in March 2006. Attendants to the meetings are listed below.

Hideo Morimoto: Director, Nuclear Energy Commission Secretariat
Hiroyuki Ito: Chief, Nuclear Energy Commission Secretariat
Tosho Yohsida: Director, Nuclear Energy Safety Commission Secretariat
Michio Sakurada: Director, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Industry Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Mitsuharu Kamata: Director, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Industry Siting Promotion, METI
Shin Morita: Energy Policy Liaison Officer for Aomori, METI
Makoto Furunishi: Director, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Regulation Division, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, METI
Takeshi Ebina: Vice-Governor, Aomori Prefectural Government
Makoto Kosaka: Director, Environment and Residents' Life, Aomori Prefectural Government
Yasuhisa Miura: Director, Health and Welfare, Aomori Prefectural Government
Katsuhiko Nakajima: Director, Commerce and Employment, Aomori Prefectural Government
Yukio Matsumoto: Director, Nuclear Facilities Safety Verification, Aomori Prefectural Government
Isami Kojima: President, JNFL
Mitsuo Suzuki: Executive Vice-President, JNFL
Haruki Aoyagi: Manager, Reprocessing Technology, JNFL
Hiroyuki Nakamura: Manager, Reprocessing Planning, JNFL
Ryuichi Asahi: Manager, Quality Control, JNFL
Toshiharu Miyakawa: Manager, Radiation Control, JNFL
Susumu Tanuma: Manager Nuclear Fuel Cycle Promotion, Federation of Electric Power Companies

Regarding the plan of active testing, JNFL explained how they checked the readiness through chemical and uranium tests and how the active test will be implemented. For example, the test will consist of five steps, each of which will process designated spent fuels. The amount and burn-ups of spent fuels that are to be put into the process are designed to be increased as the test goes onto the latter stage. While the step 1 uses 30t-Upr (tons of uranium preburn) fuels with burn-ups of 12,000~17,000MWd/t and 30,000~33,000MWd/t, step 5 will use 160t-Upr fuels with burn-ups of 20,000~40,000MWd/t. The test procedure will be hold after steps 1 and 2 in order to check if the plant performance meets designed levels. The plant will not go onto the steps 2 and 3 unless the previous test is satisfactory. JNFL also said the results of the tests in steps 1 and 2 will be opened to the public.
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), the METI's nuclear regulatory arm, explained the reasons why it came to the conclusion that the active testing plan was appropriate. Then the Nuclear Energy Safety Commission secretariat explained how the commission checked NISA's conclusion.
The Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC, the power companies' association) explained the plutonium utilisasion plan, which it reported to the Nuclear Energy Commission in January. The Federation said the plutonium that will be separated from March 2006 to March 2007 in Rokkasho reprocessing plant will be 1.6 tons Puf, and those plutonium will be used to generate energy at 16 to 18 light-water reacters owned and operated by its member power companies. Then the Nuclear Energy Commission secretariat explained about the decision that the commission made on January 24 that the plutonium utilisation plan is legitimate and appropriate.
Finally, the prefectural government introduced the draft "Safety Agreement" that is to be signed between the governor, the Rokkasho mayor, and the president of JNFL prior to the commencement of active testing. The three parties have had a safety agreement on uranium testing and other activities of JNFL, and they need a new active testing safety agreement which is based on the safety agreeement of uranium test. The main changes to the current agreement are revision to the limits of radioactive waste release ratios and requirement for JNFL to reort about the stocks and flow of its products, i.e., uranium oxides and uranium-plutnium mixed-oxides.
Most questions from the audience was on radioactive waste releases to the atmosphere and to the sea. On the following days, same meetings were held in four other cities (Hachinohe and Mutsu on Sunday 26th and Goshogawara and Hirosaki on Monday 27th), too.

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