Aomori Pref. Asks Govt to Promote N-fuel Policy

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Aomori Gov. Soichiro Miyashita speaks at the meeting of a council for discussions on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Aomori Prefecture, where a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facility is under construction, asked the government on Tuesday to promote its nuclear fuel cycle policy including the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

Aomori Gov. Soichiro Miyashita made the request during a meeting of a council for discussions between relevant cabinet ministers and officials of the prefecture on issues related to the government’s policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel within the country.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura were among the participants from the government in the first meeting of the council since October 2020, held at the prime minister’s office.

“It’s necessary for the government and businesses to make their utmost efforts to promote the nuclear fuel cycle policy,” Matsuno said.

Miyashita said, “We’d like to cooperate with the state and promote the development of prefectural affairs while maintaining our stance of not making Aomori Prefecture a nuclear waste dump site.”

During the day’s meeting, the participants decided to set up a council for the state and businesses to jointly discuss measures to promote regional economies.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., which is building the reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori, has repeatedly postponed its completion, because the company had to comply with safety standards that were tightened after the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and also because a series of problems occurred at the unfinished reprocessing plant.

In the meantime, spent nuclear fuel continued to accumulate at nuclear power plants nationwide, reaching nearly 80% of their storage capacity as of the end of March.