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25 September, 2017

MOX Fuel Arrives at Kansai EP’s Takahama-4 NPP

Early on September 21, a cargo vessel carrying sixteen assemblies of uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel arrived at the Takahama-4 Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 870MWe), owned and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kansai EP). Two transport containers holding the assemblies were then moved to an on-site storage facility.

It was the second time that MOX fuel has arrived in Japan from overseas since the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPPs. The first had been in June 2013, for use at Takahama-3 (PWR, 870MWe).

Takahama-4 resumed operation in May of this year, and Takahama-3 one month later; the latter reactor is already burning MOX fuel. Kansai EP will load the MOX fuel received this time into Unit 4 as early as the next periodic inspection, which is scheduled from next June to October.

According to the power utility, the cargo vessel arrived alongside the special pier at the Takahama site before 7:00 a.m. on September 21. Two containers—each about 6.2 meters long and weighing about 108 tons—were then separately lifted by crane onto a special trailer. After their surface radiation levels were measured, they were transported to storage. The MOX fuel will next be moved to the spent fuel pool, where they will be examined by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

In addition to Takahama-3 and -4, the Ikata-3 NPP (owned and operated by the Shikoku Electric Power Co.) is currently burning MOX fuel. The same kind of fuel is also loaded at the Genkai-3 NPP (owned and operated by the Kyushu Electric Power Co.), which is expected to resume operation next January.

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