Friday, July 1, 2011

Toshiba Pushes for Spent Fuel Processing Plant in Mongolia, in Discussion with US Government

Toshiba owns and operates Westingshouse Electric (77% ownership), and has continued to sell nuclear power plants all over the world after the Fukushima accident. So does Hitachi with GE, and so does Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with AREVA. Business as usual, no matter what.

From Kyodo News Japanese (10:08PM JST 7/1/2011):

米原子力大手ウェスチングハウス・エレクトリック(WH)を子 会社に持つ東芝の佐々木則夫社長が5月中旬、米政府高官に書簡を送り、使用済み核燃料などの国際的な貯蔵・処分場をモンゴルに建設する計画を盛り込んだ新 構想を推進するよう要請、水面下で対米工作を進めていることが1日、分かった。

It became known on July 1 that Norio Sasaki, the president of Toshiba which owns Westingshouse Electric, a major nuclear energy company in the US, sent a letter to a high ranking official in the US government in mid May urging the US government to promote the new scheme that includes a plan to build an international storage and final processing plant for the nuclear spent fuel in Mongolia.

 モンゴルでの核処分場計画は、新興国への原発輸出をにらみ、モンゴルで加工したウラン燃料の供給と使用後の処理 を担う「包括的燃料サービス(CFS)」構想の一環。米国とモンゴルが主導し、日本にも参加を呼び掛けた。経済産業省が後押ししてきたが、外務省が慎重姿 勢を示すなど政府内に異論もある。

The plan to build a processing plant in Mongolia is part of the "CFS [Comprehensive Fuel Service?]" scheme to process uranium and to process the spent fuel in Mongolia, eying the lucrative nuclear plant markets in developing countries. The US and Mongolia have been leading the effort, and have asked Japan to join. But there is a difference of opinion within the Japanese government; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been pushing for the idea, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not too keen.

As I wrote here before, Mongolia does have faults that are capable of producing Magnitude 8 earthquakes. How to transport the spent fuel rods to Mongolia should be a problem, though. Either China or Russia has to agree to have them transported overland. Russia is unlikely to allow that, as it is in direct competition with the US and the West to win nuke plant contracts in developing nations with a packaged deal like the CFS. And China? Maybe, if the US/Mongolia/Japan let China in on the scheme, in exchange of allowing the use of the facility and some "technology transfer" from the US and/or Japan.

It looks like the Cold War has never ended in the minds of politicians and nuclear industry people.


Ono said...

This news is today's top news of Kumanichi News paper.

Anonymous said...

Would Mongolians be stupid enough to accept this type of radioactive garbage repository?

Antony said...

Comprehensive Fuel Supply - i.e. includes final disposal with the supply.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with an underground storage/processing facility at Chernobyl?
The place will be uninhabitable forever anyways.

Jp said...

I am in the nuclear business and this project is stupid. Mongolia has no need for nuclear power and should not be the garbage of Japan or anybody. It is these kind of projects that get us normal people and pro-nuke concerned citizens a bad reputation.

Post a Comment