Reprocessed nuclear fuel returned to Japan for reactor use

Nuclear fuel that was reprocessed in France has been returned to Japan for use in a reactor as the country tries to burn more plutonium amid international concerns about its stockpile.

Kansai Electric Power Co. said the shipment arrived Thursday for use at the Takahama plant's No. 4 reactor, one of five reactors operating in Japan.

Japan has a stockpile of 47 tons of plutonium — the majority in Britain and France, which reprocess and store spent fuel for Japan.

Without a plutonium-burning fast reactor, Japan has resorted to burning MOX, a mixture of plutonium and uranium fuel, in conventional reactors. Only three reactors, including two at Takahama, use MOX, a fraction of planned 16-18 reactors needed to burn enough plutonium.