18 April 2012

This is JAPAN we're talking about!

Japanese nuclear fuel cycle under review

18 April 2012
Japan is evaluating a wide range of nuclear fuel cycle options as part of the larger reviewof the future role of nuclear power within energy policy, a government minister told the annual meeting of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum.

".....Five options are being considered, one scenario involving direct disposal of light-water reactor fuel after use, two scenarios where this is reprocessed and with fuel materials recycled as mixed-oxide fuel. Two more scenarios look at the use of fast reactors and fast breeder reactors....."

".....This review will quantify the amount of plutonium and used fuel generated by each option as well as looking at broader impacts such as energy security, the international perspective, and the impacts of the changes resulting from each of the potential policies.


Separately Japan is reviewing its Basic Energy Policy, which may recommend nuclear's contribution to electricity be targeted at either 0%, 20%, 26% or 36% for the medium term....."


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Now I'm a betting man and:   Japan - the need for energy security - breeder reactors - 36% nuclear contribution - all go hand-in-hand.


I can forsee where the politics is going:  persuing energy security; the imperitive of keeping the lights on for the Japanese 'way of life'; the clamour for an emission-free electricity supply; the demonstration of dumping PWR and BWR technologies because of their safety frailties - all nicely leading into a programme of deployment of inherently safe, fast breeder reactors, with enough 'home-made' fuel to power Japan for a century or two!

Any one prepared to give me any decent odds on this 'outsider'?

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