What is the last thing Japan needs right now?

I just read something on Enformable that bears sharing; especially since we got a little off-track on the gun control thread and ended up discussing bombs.

It could be that  Japan’s epic nuclear tragedy may still have a third act to play out.

Apparently, there is an effort afoot to turn the Rokkasho Nuclear Reprocessing Facility in Aomori prefecture into the mega spent-fuel dumping ground for a host of other Asian countries including Korea and Viet Nam.

Rokkasho, which re-processes spent-fuel into MOX fuel is already handling as much domestic material as it possibly can, and has come under criticism not only because of the controversial nature of its product but also because, just last month, geomorphologists reported that it has been found to be situated over an active earthquake fault.

The controversy surrounding MOX fuel production has two aspects.  The first concern for the international community is the plutonium storage that is involved:

Japan already has enough plutonium stockpiled to create hundreds of nuclear bombs, which with Japan’s current stance on nuclear weapons, is only becoming more and more of a proliferation and safety risk to keep in temporary storage

Secondly, the reprocessed fuel has proven to have practical issues:

The nuclear village and government officials have been working hard to deflect criticism that the Japanese nuclear fuel cycle plans are a complete waste of money, as neither the Monju fast breeder reactor nor the Rokkasho facility has been able to overcome frequent malfunctions and delays… Since 2009, only 4 nuclear reactors have burned MOX fuel, one of which melted down at Fukushima Daiichi.

Within that “nuclear village and government,” a corrupt culture  not only contributed to worsening outcomes at Fukushima, but continues to operate a frantic spin cycle, moving heaven and earth to sway Japanese public opinion and save  a powerful industry.

Korean officials say Japanese reports of their interest in reprocessing at Rokkasho are without substance.

In response to the news of the report, Korean officials assured the press that they were not considering Japan as a resource for reprocessing its spent nuclear fuel, inferring that this had only been another last ditch effort by Japans officials to “look for silver lining,” no matter what the reality may be.

Looks like poor beleaguered Japan may have a tough time shedding the yoke of nuclear folly.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

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