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   Nuclear Fuel Cycle Backend Research Center
   Message from Center Director

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Backend Research Center
Kimio Miyakawa

CRIEPI began at an early stage to promote research on so-called nuclear fuel cycle backend technology including; development of solidification technology of wastes (low-level radioactive wastes) discharged from the nuclear power plants that started early in Showa 40s (1970s), experimental research related to the integrity of solidified waste packages processing and disposal of low-level radioactive wastes and geological disposal of high-level radioactive wastes, disposal of decommissionedwastes generated at decommissioning of nuclear power plants, storage, transport of nuclear spent fuel as well as recycling research.

In Japan, low-level radioactive wastes disposal has been efficiently [carried out][operated] at the No.1 and 2 [underground][buried] facilities of the Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited Corp(JNFL). at Rokkasho-mura. At present, the next [phase] [underground][buried] facility has been studied mainly for high-beta/gamma wastes. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan(NUMO) is the main organization responsible for the disposal of high-level radioactive wastes and was established in 2000 to start full-scale promotion of high-level disposal project for [future] commercialization. In addition, processing and disposal of wastes generated along with decommissioning of Japan Atomic Power Co., Tokai No.1 reactor has been specifically studied. Furthermore, the shortage of storage capacity for spent fuel inside each power plant site triggered emphasis on interim storage facilitiesy to store spent fuel for the period before reprocessing. Thus, establishing the nuclear fuel cycle backend has becomes an essential problem in Japan's energy policy.

To respond to recent substantial changes to the situation in the nuclear fuel cycle backend field in Japan, CRIEPI brought together experts , who have been engaged in technical development researches related to radioactive waste disposal, decommissioning and storage and transport, to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Backend Research Center in the Civil Engineering Research Laboratory newly established in April 2004. The Center will exert its power as a comprehensive expert group to play a centra role in communicating with other organizations in CRIEPI. In addition, we will closely communicate with domestic and overseas organizations in collaborative work to efficiently promote the backend relate activities outline above and will contribute fully to the establishment of standards and rules by the national government.