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Japan delays French nuclear fuel shipment

Reuters/Tokyo Electric Power Co./Handout

Two Japanese power companies said Friday they would postpone a planned sea transport of nuclear fuel from France following the disaster at the Fukushima plant. This follows announcement by one of the companies earlier this week that it would postpone the building of a sixth reactor for a year.

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Officials from the Kansai Electric Power Co and Chubu Electric Power Co said Friday they would postpone the transport by sea of uranium-plutonium mixed-oxide fuel (Mox) that was planned for the week of 4 April.

They said the decision was made because the government could not dedicate enough resources to ensure security, as it is focusing on reconstruction efforts following the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the country earlier this month.

The French Green party on Friday called on the government to cancel the shipment. It said doing so would be “indecent”, as the Fukushima reactor causing the most problems is fuelled by Mox, a substance it says is extremely dangerous and unstable.

Kansai Electric was planning to use the fuel to augment what it has the No 3 reactor of its Takahama nuclear plant. Chubu Electric planned to start using it at the No 4 reactor of its Hamaoka plant.

But Chubu announced Wednesday that it decided to delay this at least until 2013. It also said it would delay building a sixth reactor at the Hamaoka plant for a year, to start in 2016 instead of 2015.

“Chubu Electric needs to delay the launch of construction in order to win understanding from local people by ensuring the safety of the Hamaoka plant,” a plant official said at a press conference.

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