Japan has decided to comply with the US request to return plutonium it provided for research purposes during the Cold War era, the Kyodo News agency reported Wednesday, citing unnamed Japanese government sources

 

The US administration of President Barack Obama has sought return of the plutonium, totaling 331 kilogrammes at the end of 2012, as part of a drive to strengthen nuclear security, Kyodo said.

Tokyo initially resisted because of the need to research fast reactors, however, it has decided that continued refusal could damage the bilateral relationship, Kyodo reported, citing the sources.

Japan decided it also needs to be seen contributing to nuclear nonproliferation and that it is necessary to dispel any concerns the international community may have about Tokyo's reluctance to part with the weapons-grade plutonium, the report said.

The plutonium is reportedly kept for use as nuclear fuel at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency's fast critical assembly in Tokaimura, east of Tokyo, to study characteristics of fast reactors.

Japan is now demanding the fuel be replaced with lower-grade plutonium for study purposes, Kyodo reported.

The two countries aim to reach an agreement by the third nuclear security summit to be held March 24-25 in the Netherlands, the report said.

 


 

 

..... The plutonium is reportedly kept for use as nuclear fuel at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency's fast critical assembly in Tokaimura, east of Tokyo, to study characteristics of fast reactors..... Japan is now demanding the fuel be replaced with lower-grade plutonium for study purposes, Kyodo reported."

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