Overview of the Scheme
- Business environment for the electricity utility industry has changed due to growing market competition along with electricity market reforms, which started in April 2016. Such changes may exert negative impacts on the financial conditions of electric power utilities, and consequently, bring both uncertainty in collecting funds and difficulties for electric power utilities to mutually cooperate in conducting nuclear reprocessing projects.
- In order to address these uncertainties under such new business environment, the amendment bill to the “Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Fund Act” was approved by the Diet on May 11, 2016, and promulgated on May 18, 2016. The bill establishes secured funds for expenses for the steady and efficient reprocessing operations of spent nuclear fuel.
- An implementing body to be authorized by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry will work to develop a master plan of overall nuclear reprocessing projects and to secure funds for reprocessing operations of spent nuclear fuel.
- To ensure an appropriate governance on the organization, a management committee comprised of experts will be set up for the decision making. Also, the president of the organization will be assigned by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
- With these changes, the amended bill is renamed as the “Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Implementation Act”.
Related measures to be implemented by the Act
- (1) Organize an implementing body
A new implementing body will be established to steadily implement reprocessing related activities. The main activities of the implementing body include the development of a master plan of overall nuclear reprocessing projects, collection of the expenses paid by electric power utilities, and commission of the reprocessing activities of spent fuels to a private entity (namely, Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL)).
- (2) Secure funds for reprocessing operations of spent nuclear fuel
Electric power utilities will be obligated to make annual payments to the implementing body to secure funds for nuclear reprocessing projects. These funds will be independent from individual electric power companies and should cover the operating costs of reprocessing activities including MOX fabrication activities.
- (3) Establish an appropriate governance system
By setting up a management committee that consists of experts for the decision-making process, the transparency of the newly established organization will be improved.
- Statement by the Minister Hayashi in the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives (March 24th 2016)
- Supplementary resolutions by the Diet (adopted at the timing of the approval of the bill)
- Inauguration of the Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan (October 3, 2016)
- The Cabinet Approved the Cabinet Orders for Stipulating the Effective Date of the Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Implementation Act (September 27, 2016)
- Cabinet Approved the Amendment Bill to the Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Implementation Act (February 5, 2016)
Divisions in Charge
- Nuclear Energy Policy Planning Division, Electricity and Gas Industry Department,
- Nuclear Facilities Development and Nuclear Fuel Cycle Industry Division, Electricity and Gas Industry Department
- Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI