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Japan’s nuclear crops are in need of storage for spent gas. A distant city might have the answer

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TOKYO — A Japanese city mentioned Friday it has agreed to a geological research to find out its suitability as an interim storage web site for spent nuclear gas.

Kaminoseki, a small city within the southwestern prefecture of Yamaguchi, mentioned it could settle for the supply of a survey by Chugoku Electrical Energy Co., one in all two main utility operators, together with Kansai Electrical Energy Co., whose spent gas storage swimming pools are nearly full.

The Japanese authorities is selling the better use of nuclear energy as a low-carbon power supply, however the nation’s nuclear crops are operating out of storage capability.

The issue stems from Japan’s stalled nuclear gas recycling program to reprocess plutonium from spent gas for reuse. The federal government has continued to pursue this system, regardless of critical technical setbacks. A plutonium-burning Monju reactor failed and is being decommissioned, whereas the launch of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant in northern Japan has been delayed for nearly 30 years.

After the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy plant in 2011, many reactors have been quickly taken offline and their restarts delayed, serving to to cut back the spent gas stockpile.

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Nonetheless, when Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s authorities determined to reverse a phaseout and maximize nuclear energy as clear power, issues over the dearth of space for storing have been rekindled.

Earlier this month, Chugoku put ahead a proposal to construct a storage facility collectively with Kansai Electrical, however the plan was met by offended protests from residents, who surrounded the mayor and yelled at him.

Chugoku Electrical’s plan to construct a nuclear energy plant in Kaminoseki has been stalled for greater than a decade because the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe, delaying subsidies for the distant city, whose inhabitants is getting old and shrinking.

“The city will solely get poorer if we simply preserve ready,” Kaminoseki Mayor Tetsuo Nishi instructed a televised information convention Friday. “We should always do no matter is offered now.”

Kansai Electrical, Japan’s largest nuclear plant operator, is urgently searching for extra storage for spent gas: the cooling swimming pools at its crops are greater than 80% full. The corporate pledged to discover a potential interim storage web site by the top of this 12 months.

About 19,000 tons of spent gas, a byproduct of nuclear energy technology, is saved at energy crops throughout Japan, taking over about 80% of their storage capability, in response to the economic system and business ministry.

The continuation of spent gas reprocessing program and the delay have solely added to Japan’s already giant plutonium stockpile, elevating worldwide concern. Japan additionally lacks a last repository for high-level nuclear waste.

An intermediate facility is designed to maintain nuclear spent gas in dry casks for many years till it’s moved to a reprocessing or to a last repository. Specialists say it’s a a lot safer possibility than maintaining it in uncovered cooling swimming pools at their crops.

If the storage is definitely constructed, will probably be the second such facility in Japan. The one different one is in Mutsu, close to Rokkasho, which is reserved for Tokyo Electrical Energy Co. and a smaller utility.

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