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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
'Huge blow' for Mox, say campaigners
The interior of the Mox plant at Sellafield
The Mixed-Oxide (Mox) plant opened earlier this year
The largest potential customer of the Mixed-Oxide (Mox) plant in Cumbria has halted the first-ever loading of the fuel.

Japanese power company, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), suspended its Mox programme after cracks were found in one of its nuclear reactors.

British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) has played down the impact on the controversial facility at Sellafield which officially opened earlier this year.

Mox is made at Sellafield from reprocessed Japanese nuclear fuel, which is then sent back to the Far East as Mox fuel rods.

Maintenance work

Greenpeace said the decision by TEPCO had dealt a potentially fatal blow to the Cumbrian plant.

TEPCO announced last week there may have been problems with maintenance work at its nuclear power plants between the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The company is conducting internal investigations to find out what took place during the maintenance work.

The findings will be made public in mid-September.

'Inherently dishonest'

TEPCO has decided that in its "present situation" it is unable to request permission to load Mox fuel into its reactors at the Fukushima and Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power stations.

News of the suspension comes as Sellafield prepares to take back two shipments of Mox from Japan.

Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Shaun Burnie said: "Once again it has been shown that the nuclear industry is inherently dishonest and cannot be trusted with the lives of millions of people.

"With the Mox programme effectively frozen in Japan, no demand for this dangerous fuel in Britain and little elsewhere, BNFL has no hope of getting its beleaguered Mox business off the ground."


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See also:

03 Aug 02 | Breakfast
05 Jul 02 | England
02 Jul 02 | England
14 Oct 02 | England
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