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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Japan to Press Forward on Reprocessing Plant

Japan on Friday finalized plans to continue preparations for its Rokkasho facility to eventually produce plutonium for use in power reactors, Reuters reports.

The policy approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration calls for Japan to press ahead with preparations for the reprocessing plant to begin separating plutonium from spent atomic fuel. The process is intended to help produce new power plant material, though plutonium is also suited for use in nuclear bombs.

Abe's government separately halted moves to establish a developmental fast breeder reactor in 2025, followed by a full-scale facility prior to 2050. Japan halted preparation of a fast-breeder reactor at its Monju facility in 2012, and the site is now slated for use as a research center focused on reducing stocks of used atomic fuel.

Friday's move formally eliminated Japan's prior policy to gradually eliminate any reliance on atomic power, and it authorizes the reactivation of some of the nuclear plants shuttered across the country following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The plan -- a replacement for the energy policy established by Japan's prior leadership -- may rile significant domestic opposition, according to Reuters.

Japanese Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, though, said the new policy "makes clear we will reduce reliance on nuclear power through a variety of measures."

Tokyo could settle within two to three years on more specific plans balancing Japan's various power sources, Motegi added in comments to journalists.

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This article provides an overview of Japan’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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