[Wikileaks/Japan] VISIT TO JAPAN’S SHIMANE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

5月 6, 2011

Viewing cable 07TOKYO19, VISIT TO JAPAN’S SHIMANE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT,

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TOKYO19 2007-01-05 04:12 2011-05-07 05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo

VZCZCXRO0112
RR RUEHKSO RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0019/01 0050412
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 050412Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9566
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1935
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2898
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0476
RHAKDOC/18WG CP KADENA AB JA
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000019

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2017
TAGS: ENRG PARM PREL PGOV JA
SUBJECT: VISIT TO JAPAN’S SHIMANE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT,
DISCUSSION OF MOX PLANS

Classified By: EST MC Joyce Rabens, reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1.(SBU) SUMMARY: On November 27, 2006, EST officer visited
Shimane Nuclear Power Plant on the northern coast of the Sea
of Japan in Matsue City, Shimane. It is the second least
populous prefecture in Japan. Embassy officer was provided a
tour of Unit 2 restricted areas (Unit 1 was undergoing annual
maintenance), a drive-through of Unit 3 construction site,
the Shimane Nuclear Power Exhibition Hall, and the Electric
Power Plant Simulator. In addition, EST officer received a
presentation by CEPCO reps regarding the overall lay-out of
the facility, the construction of Unit 3 and future MOX
plans. Powerpoint presentations on the General Outline of
Shimane NPP and An Overview of Construction of Shimane Unit 3
is available upon request. END SUMMARY.

General Facility Information
—————————-

2.(C) The Chugoku Electric Power Company operates the Shimane
Nuclear Power Plant, which has two Boiling Water Reactors
(BWRs). The first reactor started commercial operation in
March 1974 (power capacity is 460MW) and due to demand, a
second one was added in February 1989 (power capacity is
820MW). Currently, construction is underway to build a third
unit (power capacity goal is 1373MW) by December 2011 as an
Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). The total site area is
approximately 1.83 million m2. Like other NPPs, fresh fuel is
provided by Canada and France throughout the year. In
confidence, however, CEPCO reps revealed that it takes
approximately 2-3 days to ship waste materials by sea to the
Rokkasho-mura. Transportation movement is highly protected
and guarded. Shimane NPP services the following prefectures:
Shimane, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguichi and portions
of Hyogo, Kagawa and Ehime.

3.(SBU) In an effort to maintain the basic skills of all
plant operators, the facility also includes an on-site
simulator training building with the same layout as that of
Unit 2. Originally, the simulator was located in
Hatsukai-chi, Hiroshima, formerly called The Ono Training
Center. In July 2006, the simulator was transferred to
Shimane NPP. It is equipped with a computerized plant
operation simulator for reactor, turbine, and generator
operation training. Operator training is provided on an
on-going, rotational basis. There are three shifts of six
teams that maintain the control room, and each day two of the
teams receive training in the simulator or maintenance
building. The first scheduled shift is 22:00-8:00, the second
one is 8:00-16:00, and the third shift is 16:00-22:00. For
advanced training courses, however, operators attend classes
held at the BWR Operation Training Center that is located in
Fukushima Prefecture (headquarters with three simulators) and
Niigata Prefecture (branch with two simulators). Previous
foreign visitors to the BWR training center include officials
from General Electric and guests from Taiwan and other
East-Asian countries.

4.(SBU) Operators are generally local high school graduates
who submit a recommendation from a teacher, undergo a test,
and then an interview in order to gain employment. The next
step is for graduates to begin their year long
on-the-job-training program. Operators generally stay
employed with CEPCO until they reach official retirement age,
which is 60 years old in Japan. During their employment, some
workers opt to be transferred to work at other CEPCO’s
offices.

MOX Plans Update
—————-

5.(SBU) In September 2005, CEPCO officials submitted to
Shimane Prefecture and Matsue municipal officials an advance
approval request to use uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX)
fuel in Shimane NPP Unit 2 by 2010. As of October 2006,
agreement with the local government and citizens was reached.
Now, Shimane NPP is awaiting permission from Japan’s
regulator, the Nuclear Industry and Safety Agency. Approval
could take up to one year. Despite the fact that MOX fuel is
more expensive and the concern it could potentially be used
to build nuclear weapons, Shimane NPP officials asserted that
the switch to MOX fuel offers favorable long-term advantages.
MOX is environmentally sound because it does not increase
carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere and the amount of
high-level radioactive waste can be reduced. Furthermore,
domestically-produced MOX fuel adds to long-term energy
security because it reduces dependence on imported fuels
(Japan must import 80% of its primary energy needs.) As part

TOKYO 00000019 002 OF 002

of Japan’s Pluthermal Program, plans are currently underway
to convert plutonium recovered at Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant
into MOX fuel at Rokkasho MOX fabrication plant, which is
expected to go on line by 2012. (NOTE: MOX plans was
originally approved by the national government in 1998.
However plans came to a halt in 1999 after the falsification
of quality-control data by British MOX fuel fabricator,
British Nuclear Fuels, on MOX fuel intended for a Japanese
plant came to light.)

Physical Protection Measures
—————————-

6.(SBU) Shimane NPP physical protection measures resemble
other NPPs in Japan. Officials verified their multi-layered
access control system, including identity checks of visitors
by unarmed guards at both gates, physical barriers such as,
high double-fenced perimeters, intrusion detection such as,
sensors and redundant cameras, as well as 24/7 on-site
response forces provided by armed police and the Japan Coast
Guard. Inside the reactor building, nuclear safety culture is
observed as safety posters are displayed in the corridor. In
June 2006, the facility developed a design-basis threat
system and plans are underway to strengthen access control by
upgrading biometrics monitors.

7.(SBU) CEPCO officials stated that they conduct community
disaster drills, but currently are not scheduled for any of
the Cabinet Secretariat’s antiterrorism drills. One CEPCO
representative thought it implausible that terrorism could
occur on Japanese soil. He said that a nuclear accident is
more realistic than a terrorist attack. Shimane NPP commenced
annual disaster drills with involvement from local residents
and the police after the 1999 Tokai-mura nuclear incident
occurred. To date, CEPCO officials noted that Shimane NPP has
never had a fuel leak.

Impressive Community Outreach
—————————–

8.(SBU) Shimane NPP’s public relations office actively
promotes the safety and security of the NPP as it allows
tours of the power station, provides educational outreach
programs at schools, forms study groups for women on
nuclear-related topics, and visits elderly-single-persons to
clean and inspect electric appliances free of charge. Even
after 9/11, the public is allowed to visit to the reactor
buildings, excluding restricted areas, as long visitors apply
in advance with proper identification. Before 9/11 advance
notification was generally not required. In fact, the plant’s
goal was to grant access to one million visitors.

9.(SBU) To further maintain friendly community relations,
there is an on-site Nuclear Power Exhibition Hall resembling
a nuclear science museum that is open seven days a week, free
of charge to explain the science of nuclear fission. Inside,
there is also an interactive full-scale model of a nuclear
reactor to show how it works, a monitoring board reporting
the level of radiation in the air, as well as other
interesting nuclear-related hands-on activities. (NOTE: EST
officer highly recommends this exhibition hall to visitors
wanting to learn more about the mechanisms of nuclear power
generation). Shimane NPP also has a sports park, which
includes a soccer field, a gateball game area, and a
playground that can be used freely by all. However, there is
a chance that portions of the park may be dismantled to make
room for the construction of Unit 3.
DONOVAN

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