Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission appears to be heavily influenced by nuclear industry “donations”. Two of the 5 commissioners and 22 of the 84 examiners have received donations from nuclear industry companies. The news articles do not clarify why commission members were receiving donations or what those donations were reasoned to be for. The donations totaled 1.8 million dollars for just 24 people at the NSC during the last 5 years.
It was also found that a former METI chief concealed information that showed direct disposal of nuclear fuel would cost a fraction of reprocessing. This information was known and purposely hidden as policy decisions on the Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing facility were made. The push for reprocessing was to make MOX fuel out of the country’s spent fuel inventory. There have been some political efforts to continue with the Rokkasho reprocessing facility recently. With Japan’s nuclear power policy now in question and the use of MOX fuel even more so, continuing with Rokkasho seems an odd choice. Reprocessing vs. vitrification and storage only makes sense if your operating nuclear power plants that can use MOX fuel.
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