Utilities ponder use of new type of nuclear fuel

Utilities ponder use of new type of nuclear fuel

Electrical utilities across Japan are considering the adoption of a type of nuclear fuel that generates power for a longer time than varieties in current use.

Companies with nuclear plants that are back online keep spent fuel in storage pools. And those pools are now filling up.

The spent fuel is supposed to be taken to a reprocessing facility in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture.

Completion of that facility is considerably behind schedule.

Against this backdrop, six utilities that use boiling water reactors have begun considering the possibility of introducing a new type of nuclear fuel that is both efficient and lasts longer.

That type of fuel is widely used in nuclear plants in the US and elsewhere.

Utilities that operate other types of reactors are also thinking of making the switch.

But long-term use of nuclear fuel has disadvantages as well, such as degradation of the cladding covering the fuel. Utility officials say they are carefully studying the matter.