On September 26, the 60th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began in Vienna, Austria.
In a speech looking back on the role the IAEA has played in guiding uses of nuclear technology over the past 60 years, Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, said that the two nuclear tests conducted by North Korea this year constitute a great threat not only to Northeast Asia but to the stability of the world. He also expressed to the membership his intention to run for a third term as director general so that he personally could continue to serve the purposes of "Atoms for Peace and Development."
Speaking on behalf of the Japanese government, Hirotaka Ishihara, State Minister of the Cabinet Office, said Japan supports re-election of Director General Amano.
He also confirmed that Japan would steadily use plutonium, specifically through its program of MOX fuel use, under the principle ...more
On September 21, Japan's cabinet and other ministerial officials responsible for nuclear energy held a meeting reaffirming the country's continuing commitment to the nuclear fuel cycle and fast reactor R&D. It also set out the approach for dealing with the prototype fast breeder reactor (FBR) Monju, which may be decommissioned.
At the meeting, it was also decided to establish a so-called "conference on fast reactor development," consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), who will take the initiative, as well as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), along with the country's electric power utilities and nuclear power reactor vendors.
The conference is to address courses of action for fast reactor development, aiming at finalizing a governmental policy by year-end. It will also make a fundamental review of Monju, including its decommissioning, and present the government’s official policy on it together with fast reactor development in general.
At the ministerial meeting, METI Minister Hiro...more
On September 20, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) approved the creation of the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organization, the headquarters of which will be in Aomori City several hours north of Tokyo. The organization, classified as a "duly-authorized juridical entity," will aim at reprocessing spent fuel in a steady fashion amidst the changing business environment for nuclear power.
Ever since July, the presidents of the ten electric power utilities in Japan with nuclear facilities, as advocates of the organization’s creation, have been preparing for its formal establishment next month. Shigeru Inoue, chairman of the Tohoku Energy Conference and former vice president of the Tohoku Electric Power Co., has been unofficially selected as chairman of the new organization.
A special committee was established in July 2015 under the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy to discuss how to deal with funding, responsibilities and systems for the business of spent fuel reprocessing, so that it does not stagnate in the evolving environment created by power system reform and the nation's existing commitment to reduce dependency on nuclear power.
Based on its del...more
On September 20, at a press conference held after a cabinet meeting, the head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Hiroshige Seko, announced the establishment of a new special committee to discuss management issues at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
The committee, which will consist of representatives from major Japanese economic organizations, will primarily focus on helping TEPCO pay for decommissioning costs at its Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, as well as on managerial reform leading to the restructuring of its business. The committee, which will meet for the first time in early October, is expected to complete a draft proposal by yearend.
METI, which is already intending to incorporate ordinary decommissioning costs for nuclear power plants into the "consignment charges" that power producers and suppliers (PPSs) must pay to use the power transmission networks owned by major power utilities, is now also considering expanding that to include TEPCO's decommissioning costs at the Fukushima Daiichi NPPs.
Chairman Akio M...more