THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS

THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS



JAPAN DELAYS USE OF MOX

Thursday, June 07, 2001

Japan's largest electricity utility has agreed to postpone the loading of recycled Mox nuclear fuel at its plant in northern Japan.

Tokyo Electric Power Company's decision, made after a meeting with local government officials, follows a referendum in the village of Kariwa last weekend in which more than half of the population - which depends heavily on the power plant for jobs - voted against the use of controversial mixed-oxide fuel (Mox).

BNFL's Sellafield Mox plant was largely completed five years ago but will not receive clearance from the British government to start operations until its economic case has been proven.

Although some 40 per cent of its capacity has been contracted or reserved by customers in Europe, its most important client is Japan.

Nobuya Minami, Tokyo Electric's president, said the group would respect the request to delay the use of Mox. "The time has come for us to pause," he said.

Last month BNFL's chief executive Norman Askew said key contracts with overseas customers were "safe''.