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The closure of a plutonium-uranium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel plant in Britain is set to cost Japan’s nuclear power industry billions of yen in revenue, according to industry insiders.
Japan’s 10 utilities generating nuclear electrical power jointly covered the expenses for renovating the Sellafield-based plant, owned by the British government-affiliated Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, but the British authorities decided in the wake of the 11 March nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima that Japan would no longer be interested in purchasing British MOX nuclear fuel and has decided to close the processing facility, The Japan Times newspaper reported.
The decision has not been without controversy in Britain as earlier this month the Royal Society recommended that the British government should consider building a new mixed-oxide fuel reprocessing facility to reuse the country's huge stockpile of separated plutonium as part of a long-term nuclear strategy.
Royal Society working group chairman and British Atomic Energy Authority head Roger Cashmore said, "This is the only way of dealing with it which is reliable."
British Energy and Climate Minister Chris Huhne said that Britain has approximately 6,900 cubic meters of high-level nuclear waste which the British government currently spends roughly $31.6 billion annually to manage, telling reporters, "My department has just finished consulting on the long-term management of our plutonium stockpiles, and will publish the results shortly."
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com