Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel too costly

Publish date: October 29, 2004

The cost of reprocessing used nuclear fuel from power plants is up to 1.8 times higher than burying it, Japan's Atomic Energy Commission estimates.

According to the estimate, reprocessing spent nuclear fuel would cost 1.6 yen (1.4 cents) per kilowatt-hour of output, whereas it costs 0.9 yen (0.8 cents) per kilowatt-hour to dispose of the fuel without reprocessing, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. But the commission observed that if the government did not reprocess the fuel, it would still incur costs from dismantling a reprocessing plant in Rokkashomura, Aomori prefecture, which is scheduled to start operations soon. The Japanese companies invested $22 billion in the plant.