First Shipment of Nuclear Fuel for Japan Departs from France

From Japan Daily Press

Departing from a port in France this week, a ship carrying nuclear fuel is on its way to making the first delivery to Japan since the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The fuel was loaded onto the ship with a large amount of security present due to local protestors, and the cargo ship then set sail from northwestern France’s port of Cherbourg.

Known as MOX fuel, which is a mixture of uranium and plutonium taken out of spent nuclear fuel, the shipment was ordered by the utility Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO), which serves Japan’s western region near Osaka. The company says the fuel, which is scheduled to arrive in roughly two months, will be used at its Takahama nuclear plant, located on the coast in Fukui Prefecture.

The French activists were present at the ship’s loading in order to speak out against the continued use of nuclear power, and protest the sending of fuel to Japan, where all but two of the country’s reactors remain offline. KEPCO’s Takahama plant is one of the many not in operation, and it is still unknown when the project involving MOX fuel used for nuclear recycling power generation will be able to continue.

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