In resource-poor Japan, nuclear power generation is one of the most important
energy resources with 1/3 of the total power generation dependent on nuclear energy.
Nuclear fuel once used in the nuclear power plant is called "spent fuel" and contains
plutonium usable as an energy resource. Therefore, Japan decided on a policy of
reprocessing plutonium to recover as nuclear power plant fuel (pluthermal) or
to be recycled at fast breeder reactors in the future.
This series of processes is called "nuclear fuel cycle backend." Technical development
corresponding to the integrated radioactive waste measures in the last half of
the nuclear fuel cycle is called "backend measures" and includes processing and
disposal of low-level radioactive wastes generated from the operation and maintenance
of nuclear power plants,high-level radioactive wastes discharged from the reprocessing
of spent fuel and TRU wastes including TRU nuclides (nuclides with less radioactivity
but larger atomic number than long life uranium). In addition, the term "backend
measures" can be used to broadly include the storage and transport of spent fuel
and radioactive wastes.