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22 July, 2015

JAPC Applies for Permission to Bury Tokai-1 Waste on Plant Premises

On July 16, the Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC), under the terms of a local nuclear safety agreement, submitted a plan to Ibaraki Prefecture and Tokai Village to bury extremely low-level radioactive waste (Level III or L3) generated by the current decommissioning of its Tokai-1 Nuclear Power Plant (GCR, 166 MWe), located in the village. At the same time, JAPC also filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for approval to bury the waste.

The waste burial is to take place on the premises of the nuclear power plant, which is the country’s first commercial reactor to be decommissioned. This is also the first time in Japan that a commercial NPP operator has submitted an application for an L3 burial plan connected with a reactor’s decommissioning.

The plan calls for the creation of a trench on the Tokai-1 premises that will be 100m long, 80m wide and 4m deep. The L3 waste will be first put in flexible container (flecon) bags and then buried in the trench, where it will remain under control for three to five decades as it becomes less radioactive. The trench will be capable of accommodating about 26,400 cubic meters of waste, with the total amount of waste to be buried expected to be some 16,000 tons.

After considering the plan, which includes both management methods and safety measures, both the prefecture and village will decide whether to give their consent, and the NRA will also determine whether to approve it or not. Once the NRA does give it the green light, JAPC will begin work on constructing the trench, targeting FY18 (April 2018 to March 2019) for the onset of operation.

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