HC Deb 26 January 1999 vol 324 cc175-6W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), of 18 January 1999,Official Report, columns 364–65, on nuclear fuel, what is the basis for his statement that the Japanese Government's preferred means of using recovered plutonium is for it to be converted into MOX nuclear fuel. [67099]

Mr. Battle

The policy of the Japanese Government with respect to the nuclear energy industry is set out approximately every five years in a document published by Japan's Atomic Energy Commission. This is called the "Long Term Programme for Research, Development and Utilisation of Nuclear Energy". In the most recent of these documents, published in 1994, the Atomic Energy Commission confirmed Japan's policy on recycling nuclear fuel and noted the need to begin using MOX fuel. More recently, a full review of Japan's nuclear fuel recycling policy was undertaken and culminated in the publication on 31 January 1997 of a policy statement by the Atomic Energy Commission. This policy statement, which was subsequently endorsed by the Japanese Cabinet on 4 February 1997, proposed a prompt start to a programme for using MOX fuel in Japanese light water reactors. The contracts between the Japanese electricity utilities and both BNFL and COGEMA for the supply of MOX fuel are consistent with that programme.

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