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Spent MOX fuel removed at Ikata nuclear plant; 1st time in Japan

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The spent MOX fuel rods will temporarily be stored in a cooling pool at the plant, since there are no reprocessing facilities in Japan at present. It is unclear where the fuel will end up. Spent MOX fuel tends to be hotter than the low-enriched uranium more widely used in thermal reactors.

This paragraph shows the real problem with nuclear power in Japan. They are only focused on the here and now, without any plans for the future management of spent fuel. The same thing has happened with the stockpile of tainted water at Fukushima. They have just ignored the problem until they have no choice than to pump it into the ocean regardless of the environmental impact. Similarly in this case, they have no plans on how to store the spent MOX fuel. Are they going to stockpile this until they have no choice than to dump it in the ocean too?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods and disposal of contaminated cooling water from the Fukushima plant are two different different issues.

Currently spent fuel rods are sent to France where they are reprocessed. This system has worked reasonably smoothly for at least 30 years.

The nuclear engineers involved in the MOX program do have a system for cooling the rods and will probably send them off to France too.

"Using such fuel is also important for the country to reduce its stockpile of plutonium,"

One of the reason for the MOX program is to find a way to deal with the current and future nuclear waste

gary

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Do the hustle:

There is a facility in Mutsu City, Aomori, Japan calles the Spent Fuel Storage Facility. リサイクル燃料貯蔵. It is meant to house spent fuel that is no longer usable for an undetermined amount of time. It has been a work in progress for nearly 2 decades now and is nearly complete. The entire region of Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori has been earmarked to store recycled fuel that no other region will take. Money from this facility has been keeping the region afloat financially ever since I lived there from the early 2000s. The government has definitely been preparing for this.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The reprocessing and the shortage of the spent fuel needs the government to resolve especially with 20 reactors being decommissioned. The Aomori reprocessing site is already at 80% capacity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

MOX fuel is made of plutonium and uranium extracted while reprocessing spent fuel and is a key component of resource-poor Japan's nuclear fuel recycling program.

and Japan's future Nuclear weapons program.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No proper storage facility?

Now what's up with that?

Shouldn't this be considered in the planning phase?

Once again: turn on your brain before you start to speak or do something!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You all bring up great points, but did you also read the last paragraph? Someone mistakenly pulled up the wrong fuel rods during prep work. This to me is equally scary...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I guess they'll dump it into the ocean like everything else? what's the plan? MOX is scary stuff

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The spent MOX fuel rods will temporarily be stored in a cooling pool at the plant, since there are no reprocessing facilities in Japan at present. It is unclear where the fuel will end up. Spent MOX fuel tends to be hotter than the low-enriched uranium more widely used in thermal reactors.

They should get away from plutonium technology like MOX and instead work on gen 4 reactor technology. From all I read, the technical problems are mostly solved, there are is a clear path to safe nuclear technology there. Gen 4 is by design "walk away safe", which not something one can say about the current technology, especially when Plutonium is involved. (The name "material from hell" is not accidental...)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem they had was reported on Saturday but the news did not make its way to this site.

It took their workers about 5 hours to get the fuel rod back in again. That worked, but they are scratching their heads as to why the weight sensor alarm did not go off when the rod was initially pulled up by mistake.

In Japanese, 12 January. The video does not seem to work for me, but the article is still there.

https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20200112-00000006-ebc-l38

48体の制御棒のうち1体が誤って引き抜かれました。このトラブルに作業員が気づき、引き抜いた制御棒は午後6時45分ごろ元の位置に戻されました。外部への放射線漏れはなかったものの、制御棒の吊り上げに重量センサーが反応しなかったということです。

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nuclear energy is now too expensive to build. About $6,000 per kW. ¥100 billion for a new plant and 8-10 years of construction. Millions of tons of many types of raw materials.

Gen 4 reactors will not be available until after 2030 at the earliest. Not online until 2050.

Nuclear energy here will just end by default.

Nuclear energy currently generates less than 5% of total power.

Japan has around 50 tons of plutonium with about 8 tons here and the rest in the UK. About enough for 5,000 atomic bombs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Someone mistakenly pulled up the wrong fuel rods during prep work.

one of the 48 control rods in the No. 3 reactor was mistakenly pulled out during the preparation work on Sunday.

This latter error was more serious - these rods have to be inserted into the reactor vessel to moderate the fission process, removal increases it. In PWRs they are inserted from above, with the control rod drive mechanisms mounted on the reactor pressure vessel head. In BWRs, due to the necessity of a steam dryer above the core, this design requires insertion of the control rods from beneath. TEPCO's are all BWR - the poorer design.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

nandakandamanda - yes, strange to talk about some "successful" removal of rods when in fact the BIG story was the BIG mistake made with the extraction of the wrong rod.

And people want to believe in the safety of nuclear power when it appears we're often just one mistaken step away from calamity.

How many times?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

seriously, there are only 48 control rods in one of a kind reactor in Japan.

The person in charge of the maintenance, that is his only job, and he still manages to pull a wrong one?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The fundamental errors made and the lack of a solid plan of how to dispose of or store the spent rods does not fill me with any kind of confidence at all. Japan wants to reply solely on nuclear power, but it doesn't seem like they like they are capable of managing a public toilet better less a nuclear energy plant.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just in! Court rules that the power utility must suspend operations at the plant over residents safety concerns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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