Another delay for the Rokkasho reprocessing plant

The launch of the reprocessing plant in Rokkasho has been delayed again. The operator of the plant, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL) announced that the launch was postponed until the first half of FY 2018 (i.e. April-September 2018). JNFL cited the need to complete safety upgrades and get regulatory approval.

According to the JNFL press release (in Japanese) the amount to be reprocessed in FY 2018 (April 2018-March 2019) would be 80 tons of spent fuel (BWR 48 tons, PWR 32 tons). The local newspaper, Toonippo, that closely follows the issue, reported that actual reprocessing might start in January 2019.

Previous delay was announced in October 2014. At the time, JNFL was planning to open the plant in March 2016. The current delay is the 22nd in the history of the plant. Its construction began in 1993 and at the time the plant was expected to open in 1997.

Completion of the MOX fabrication facility was postponed as well - until first half of FY2019 (i.e. September 2019), instead of the previously planned October 2017.