27 Jun (NucNet): The first shipment of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel to Japan since before the March 2011 accident at Fukushima-Daiichi has arrived at a port in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, for delivery to the Takahama nuclear power plant.
Areva said that following their departure from Cherbourg in France, on 17 April 2013, two vessels called Pacific Heron and Pacific Egret safely arrived in Japan today.
Teams from the Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco), which owns and operates the four-unit Takahama plant, have already unloaded the cargo of 20 MOX fuel assemblies, Areva said.
The assemblies were manufactured at Areva’s Melox facility at the Marcoule nuclear site in southern France.
The British company Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL), in which Areva and Kepco are shareholders, “ensured the safety and security” of the shipment to Japan. PNTL also confirmed in a statement that the shipment had arrived and been unloaded.
Areva and Kepco signed the contract for the supply of MOX fuel for Takahama in April 2008.
All four pressurised water reactor units at the Takahama plant in southwest Japan remain offline for safety checks following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident.
Only two of Japan’s 50 commercial reactors, Ohi-3 and Ohi-4, have restarted since the accident. Most recently, Ohi-3 resumed electricity generation on 5 July 2012 after an extended outage, ending a 60-day period without any of Japan’s 50 reactors online.
MOX fuel consists of a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides recovered from used nuclear fuel. More than 30 nuclear reactors in Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland use MOX fuel, typically as one third of their cores. Some units can use up to 50 percent MOX and some modern designs could use 100 percent MOX.
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