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MOX Fuel Departs Japan for United Kingdom

MEDIA RELEASE

4 July 2002


MOX Fuel Departs Japan for United Kingdom

British Nuclear Fuels and Kansai Electric Power Company of Osaka announced today that the vessels Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal departed Japan at 18:57 (Japan Time) 21:57 (NZT) bound for the United Kingdom carrying a cargo of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.

There are eight fuel assemblies being carried aboard the specialist nuclear fuel carriers and they are being returned to the United Kingdom as part of the agreement between the two companies after it was discovered there had been inadequate quality control measures during the manufacture of the fuel by BNFL.

The vessels will travel through the Southwest Pacific and around the Cape of Good Hope on the voyage.

For security reasons, no details of the position of the vessels during the voyage, nor of their possible arrival time in the UK will be released.

Ends


Notes to Editors

- The Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal are specially built nuclear cargo carriers. They conform to the highest international standards (INF3)

- The MOX fuel pellets are a hard, ceramic-like substance carried inside high strength zirconium rods, which in turn are placed in a 100 tonne forged steel casks which have been subjected to International Atomic Energy Agency fire, drop and immersion tests

- Japanese competent authorities have confirmed that the cargo complies with international technical standards for return to the United Kingdom. The British competent authorities have also inspected and certified the fuel

- Each vessel is armed, and carries a complement of armed United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency Constabulary for security

- The security and physical protection arrangements for this voyage have been reviewed and approved by regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom and Japan. The US has described arrangements for previous MOX shipments as adequately robust, which are similar to those employed for this voyage

- The regulatory bodies are satisfied that the arrangements in place are sufficient to protect the cargo against theft, sabotage or acts of terrorism

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