Updates On Fukushima Nuclear Reactor I-3: MOX Fuel Concerns

There is concern about the MOX fuel used at the Fukushima nuclear reactor No. I-3. This is the third reactor at the first compound. There are a total of 10 nuclear reactors in Fukushima, with 6 at compound 1 and 4 at compound 2 (Source CNIC and wikipedia, Fukushima I and Fukushima II). All are run by Tepco to supply electricity to the Kanto region and Tokyo in particular.

Unit I-1 was designed in 1967 and went online in 1970. From September 2010, unit I-3, which went online in 1976, has been fueled by MOX fuel.

Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel contains plutonium recovered from spent nuclear fuel (Source: World Nuclear News and The Japan Times). So far, media has not reported about the use of MOX fuel, possibly because it could add to concern and confusion. I have tried to access Tepco's website but it is not responding (I get an error message) possibly due to too much activity.

Fortunately, Units I-4, I-5, and I-6 were shut down for maintenance at the time of the earthquake/tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Green Action, an independent NGO, is carefully monitoring the developments at the different nuclear reactors along the coast in north-eastern Japan.

From The Japan Times:

Monday, Aug. 23, 2010

Fukushima reactor receives MOX

FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Saturday loaded a nuclear reactor in Fukushima Prefecture with MOX, a controversial fuel made with reprocessed plutonium and uranium oxides, as it prepares to become the leading power utility's first facility to go pluthermal.

The No. 3 reactor at Tepco's Fukushima No. 1 plant will be the nation's third pluthermal facility, but only the first to be refurbished since the plant was built 34 years ago.

Tokyo Electric plans to activate the reactor on Sept. 18 and let it start generating electricity on Sept. 23.


vegetablej said…

Good to know you are safe!

Thanks for your excellent updates about this very worrying situation.

I've put a link to your blog at the top of my site for those looking for reliable information. We are getting a lot of coverage on mainstream news here but much better to get a balanced perspective from Japan.

My heart goes out to all and I hope the rescue operation will take place as speedily as possible.
Pandabonium said…
Actually, about 1/3 of energy in nuclear power plants comes from plutonium - whether it is using MOX fuel or not. Plutonium is made in the reactor as a by-product. So, the MOX fuel is not unique in containing Pu.

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