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Civil Use of Nuclear Energy with Nuclear Fuel CycleThe Challenge for the Sustainable use of Nuclear Energy in Japan Taro HOKUGO March 23, 2006 This presentation includes his personal views and does not necessarily reflect the policy of Japan
The Resources of Electricity Generation in Japan New Energy resources 0.5% geothermal 0.4% Nuclear 25.7% Natural Gas 27.9% Total Production of Electricity 935.5 billion kWh fossil fuels Hydraulic 10.4% Coal 24.0% Oil 11.2% Result in fiscal year 2003 Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry From: http://www.atom.meti.go.jp/index.html
Over View of Nuclear Power Generation in Japan (1) -State of Nuclear Power Generation- ・53 power plants are in operation (June, 2006,Ministry of Economy Trade, and Industry (METI)) ・Capacity of Nuclear Power generation is 47,000MW (id.) ・The government published its policy either to maintain current rate of the dependency on nuclear power in electricity production, 30 – 40 %, or to increase it. (Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy, October 11, 2005, Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC)) ・The government recognizes that nuclear power generation can contribute to the stable supply of Energy and the prevention of global warming (Id.)
Over View of Nuclear Power Generation in Japan (2) -Nonproliferation- ・Japan is a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a “non-nuclear-weapon state”, so that its nuclear energy use is limited to peaceful purposes and under the full scope safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA). ・In addition, Japan accepts some restrictions of bilateral atomic energy agreement with some countries which offer nuclear fuels, initial technologies, some services. ・As a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), regulating its export of the devices which could be the key to nuclear technology in consistent with the London Guideline II (http://www.nuclearsuppliersgroup.org/)
Over View of Nuclear Power Generation in Japan (3) -The Level of Technology- ・Although the experimental power plant was developed by Japan, all of current operating plants are either BWR or PWR, whose basic designs were those by GE or WH. ・However, some companies such as Toshiba (BWR), Hitachi (BWR) and Mitsubishi (PWR) has substantial technologies to construct civil nuclear power plants by them selves. ・National own technologies for enrichment and reprocessing ・Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is doing research and development of nuclear technologies, including reprocessing, Fast Breading Reactor (FBR) and nuclear fusion energy.
The Fundamentals for Civil Nuclear Energy (1) ・The confidenceof international community - Compliance of the obligations ofNPT - Restrictions from Atomic Energy Agreements Ex: Requirement of the approval by supplying countries - Informal substantial control of NSG Core devices and technologies are under its control - International Politics Although NPT itself ordains the “inalienable right” to “develop research, production anduse of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” (article IV), the reality of the world politics has never admitted world distrusted countries to engage in these activities
The Fundamentals for Civil Nuclear Energy (2) ・The Basic Legal Structure - Nuclear Safety Regulation System Requirement from the Nuclear Safety Treaty Ex: Regulatory agency functionally separated from the implementing agency of nuclear energy use Regulation on each step of decision of the place of the cite, design of the plant, the construction, and the operation - Nuclear Liability Law in which liability for the accident is channeled to the operators The establishment and equipment suppliers can not engaged in the construction and maintenances without such indemnification. The practical remedy in the case of accidents
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy Japan is implementing nuclear fuel cycle program, in which the spent nuclear fuel should be reprocessed and divided into nuclear fuel materials (uranium and plutonium ) and fission products, which should be disposed of as the high level nuclear waste. (Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy, October 11, 2005, JAEC) The reserve-production ratio for the known amount of deposits of uranium is only about 85 (years) (OECD /NEA-IAEA “URANIUM2003”) , but if we use implement nuclear fuel cycle using FBR, it would rise up to 2,550 (id.).
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Intended in Japan ores yellow cake uranium hexafluoride Uranium mine Refining plant Conversion uranium hexafluoride HLW Cool down Facility Reprocessing Enrichment Burial facility Spent fuel plutonium Temporary storage facilities Reconversion Power plant low-level radioactive waste (LLW) uranium dioxide fuel bundle Burial facility Pellet factory From the website of METI (http://www.atom.meti.go.jp)
Reprocessing Factory of JNFL Processing Capacity per Year: 800t Max Processing Capacity per Day: 4.8tU Max Capacity of SF Storage: 3,000tU Ground Area: 3800,000 m2 Village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture From the website of JNFL (http://www.JNFL.co.jp)
Light Water Reactor (LWR) Slowdown Neutron Uranium 235 Energy Uranium 235 Energy Plutonium 239 Uranium 238 Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) Uranium 238 Plutonium 239 Plutonium 239 Plutonium 239 Energy Energy From the website of METI (http://www.atom.meti.go.jp)
Japanese FBR: MONJU Thermal power: 714MW Electric power: 270MW From the website of JAEA (http://www.jaea.go.jp)
Frameworks Related with Nuclear Fuel Cycle (1) ・Reprocessing by a private enterprise: Japan Nuclear Fuel limited (JNFL) ・Safety Regulations on Reprocessing Plant Provisions for Reprocessing – The Nuclear Reactor Regulation Act ・Strict Inspection of Safeguards Strict requirement from the non-proliferation concern in NPT and some additional agreements with IAEA ・Account Reserve for Future Reprocessing Cost The cost of reprocessing arises after 5-10 years after the use of the fuel. To make such lag time consistent with the market system, electricity companies are required allocate the predicted cost in the reserve at the time of operation using the fuel.
Frameworks Related with Nuclear Fuel Cycle (2) ・Reserve Fund for the Disposal of HLW The Act for the Disposal of HLW (May, 2000) established the reserve fund for this purpose which is controlled out side the electricity companies. Each electricity company has to pay to this fund depending on the volume of the use of the fuel. ・Process to get the Local Consent ・Government Invested R & D Reprocessing, FBR, Disposal of HLW, Enrichment, etc.
The Controversial Issues (1) ・International Concern: non-proliferation Plutonium could be a material for nuclear weapons. Reprocessing is always suspected from international community. In addition to the inspection of IAEA, the plant of JNFL is designed to produce mixture of plutonium and uranium, not pure plutonium. ・Safety Concern Reprocessing is a kind of chemical factory, which is likely to have leaking. But in this case, leaked liquid would be radio active. Current FBR, Monju, uses liquid sodium as refrigerant. It caused leaking of sodium in Dec 1995, and it caused suspect on the safety of FBR among public.
The Controversial Issues (2) ・Economical Efficiency (1) The economical efficiency of nuclear power is considered to be “by no means inferior to other resources of electricity” (The report on Jan 23, 2005, the Subcommittee on the Cost Analysis, Electricity Utility Industry Council, METI) On the other hand, lag time and lead time of some parts of the cost, uncertainty of the back end solution, and the relatively high initial investment cost for the facilities were concerned in the deregulation on the electricity industry in the amendment of the Electric Utility Law in 2003. (Ex: the report on Feb.15, 2003, Electricity Utility Industry Council, METI)
The Controversial Issues (3) ・Economical Efficiency (2) When the government decided “Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy” (October 11, 2005, JAEC), the different of the cost between two options, Direct Disposal Option to dispose directly the spent fuel without reprocessing, and Nuclear Cycle Option to have reprocessing the spent fuel and dispose of the HLW which dose not include uranium or plutonium. The conclusion was that the cycle option would be more expensive than the direct option by 10 %, reserving some possibility of change of cost depending on the cost of the policy change. (Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy, October 11, 2005, JAEC)
Efforts to Solve the Issues under Controversy (1) ・Non-proliferation The compliance of international obligations The reputation as constitutionally peaceful country ・Safety Concern Since it includes some new technologies, R & D and the accumulated experience of operation, in addition to strict enforcement of regulations, would be important. Furthermore, without getting public understanding about the issue, the projects would not be forwarded, in the circumstance where the local consent is substantially necessary to do it.
Efforts to Solve the Issues under Controversy (2) ・Economical Efficiency of Nuclear Power in General It has been increased by the growth of size, and improvement of operations. The problem of lead time and lag time of the cost is mostly solved by the accounting system provided by law, so far, although it was an issue in the Deregulation of the industry. Focus of economic efficiency is now mostly on the cost of nuclear fuel cycle. ・ Economical Efficiency of Nuclear Fuel Cycle At this point, it depends on how properly the reprocessing factory woks. And as for future FBR, no one can tell the economical efficiency now.
Conclusion Nuclear fuel cycle would be a sustainable use of Nuclear Energy, if successful. On the other hand, there is still strong skepticism on the perspective of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy. In addition, it is also a non-proliferation issue. However, the factors affecting the perspective are the matter of human endeavor, not physical limitations. And they have been solved to some extent. Thus, I think that Nuclear Energy with fuel cycle would be a “good energy” for Japan, as long as it is the country that is trusted to have the peaceful nature, and that has the ability and the eagerness to continue R & D to solve arisen problems.