Japan’s MOX Public Opposition Prevented Larger Plutonium Disaster

Fukushima Reactor Unit 3 on 16 March. Photo: Digital Globe Imagery (CC)

Fukushima Reactor Unit 3 on 16 March. Photo: Digital Globe Imagery (CC)

Via Common Dreams:

A concerted Japanese citizen action that delayed the loading of mixed plutonium-uranium fuel — known as MOX — into the core of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima and prevented the use of MOX at several other reactors, likely prevented a far worse outcome than is currently occurring at the troubled reactor today.

Japanese citizen groups successfully resisted the use of MOX fuel at Fukushima-Daiichi for a decade. MOX fuel was not loaded into the reactor until August 21, 2010 and the reactor began operation on September 18, 2010. Consequently, all the MOX fuel remains in the core and none of it had yet been transferred to the unprotected fuel pool.

Last August, Beyond Nuclear’s radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was invited by Green Action Japan and their local Fukushima anti-nuclear environmental allies to travel to Fukushima specifically to speak about the risks of storing MOX high-level radioactive waste in storage pools.

“If the citizen groups had not been successful, there would have been a 33% load of MOX at Fukushima Daiichi 3 instead of the current 5% and there would have been MOX in the spent fuel pool,” said Kamps. “The activists have saved countless lives by preventing what might have been a worse disaster than is already taking place.”

Read More: Common Dreams