The real cost of decommissioning in Japan

The real cost of decommissioning in Japan

Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) Research & Development Institute, the operator of the first reprocessing plant Tokai Reprocessing Plant (located in Ibaraki Prefecture), revealed in a recent interview that the real cost of decommissioning the heavy concrete and the equipment in this facility is estimated to reach around 800 billion Yen (about 7.17 Billion USD).

The dismantlement will be finished within 70 years. Since the Institute is operated under the government funds, the dismantling fees will have to fall onto the shoulders of the Japanese tax payers.

The dismantling procedures will follow four steps:

  1. The decontamination and dismantlement of the radioactive machine and equipment.
  2. Cement/mortar-seal of the casks filled with the radioactive waste or the tooling.
  3. Transportation of the casks to the reprocessing site.
  4. Landfill

The landfill measures will cost the most in the whole process, around 330 billion Yen (2.95 Billion USD), while the decontamination about 166 billion Yen (1.48 Billion USD), and the transportation about 87 billion Yen (780 Million USD). The number 800 billion doesn’t include the outstanding issues such as the reprocessing fees, so it is likely to further increase later.

  • Waste with the highest radiation level, which will fill some 30,000 drums, will be buried more than 300 meters underground.
  • Mid-level waste, which will fill about 24,000 containers, is expected to be buried several dozens of meters underground.
  • Low-level waste, involving another 81,000 drums, will be buried close to the surface.

Note: The facility started operation in 1977 as part of Japan’s desire to establish a nuclear fuel cycle, in which all spent fuel is reprocessed to extract its plutonium and uranium to make more fuel. The policy is designed to ensure resource-dependent Japan uses its nuclear fuel as efficiently as possible.

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Elaine Li

Elaine Li (李益楠) is Marketing Manager for the Chinese Market. With ten years of experience in the nuclear power market, Elaine is experts for the certification of safety equipment (HAF 604 and 601) and marketing intelligence.