The Japanese government has approved programmes to build and operate a plant for the processing of plutonium-uranium mixed oxide, or MOX, and a facility for storing spent nuclear fuel in Aomori Prefecture.
These programmes which were approved by the government yesterday are its first such facilities and are key components of a nuclear fuel cycle.
Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd plans to build the plant in the village of Rokkasho to process MOX powder from an adjacent spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant into fuel assemblies from 2015.
But the company has indicated a possible delay beyond the year.
Recyclable-Fuel Storage Co plans to construct the facility in the city of Mutsu to store spent fuel from nuclear plants of Tokyo Electric Power Co and Japan Atomic Power Co for some 50 years before reprocessing at the Japan Nuclear Fuel plant.
Construction is scheduled to start in July and be completed by 2012.