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Tepco Considered Exiting Rokkasho Fuel Recycling, Mainichi Says

02 Dec 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) and Japan’s trade and industry ministry considered exiting planned nuclear fuel reprocessing operations at the Rokkasho plant because of cost overruns, the Mainichi newspaper reported.

Officials from Tokyo Electric and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry met in 2002 to discuss shutting down operations at Rokkasho in northern Honshu after construction costs were projected to be more than 2 trillion yen ($25.7 billion), the newspaper reported, citing a memo on the meeting.

Further meetings on proposals to abandon reprocessing weren’t held because Tokyo Electric Chairman Hiroshi Araki and President Nobuya Minami stepped down to take responsibility for fake safety reports at the company’s plants later in 2002.

The revelation that recycling at the Rokkasho plant was targeted for closure may affect a debate on the future of the Monju fast-breeder reactor northwest of Tokyo, the Mainichi said. The Rokkasho site is also a storage facility for waste from nuclear plants.