Takahama Nuclear Power Plant – Unit 3 Starts Using MOX Nuclear Fuel

- Edited By Chris Reed -

Kansai Electric Power Co. started Unit No. 3 at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, Japan on Wednesday. It is the nation's fourth nuclear power plant using plutonium-uranium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel.

The reactor is expected to reach criticality soon, possibly on Thursday, and begin generating electricity as soon as Saturday, according to company officials.

The Osaka-based power company plans to resume commercial operations in late January after undergoing final examinations by Japan’s nuclear regulatory inspectors.

The utility company serving western Japan had planned to commence the country's first ''pluthermal,'' or plutonium-thermal, power generation at the plant with MOX fuel from Britain in 1999. But it was forced to suspend the plan for more than a decade due to data falsification at a British plant that processed the fuel as well as a fatal accident at the company's Mihama nuclear plant in 2004.

Eight of the 157 fuel assemblies at the pressurized water reactor were replaced with MOX fuel on Dec. 5.

Kyushu Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Electric Power Co. have already begun generating power using MOX fuel at their reactors.

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