Mongolia expresses reservations about nuclear fuel repository plan

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Mongolia has reservations about a plan to build a facility there to store or dispose of spent nuclear fuel from other countries, Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said Wednesday.

Matsumoto told a parliamentary session that when he met with his Mongolian counterpart Gombojav Zandanshatar last Saturday, the Mongolian minister said his country would find it difficult under domestic law to take in nuclear waste from overseas.

The Japanese minister said Zandanshatar brought up the issue when the two were discussing cooperation on civilian nuclear power generation, including the development of uranium in Mongolia, during a meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on the fringes of a regional security meeting there.

Japan, the United States and Mongolia have informally discussed a plan to establish a nuclear fuel repository in Mongolia, but the talks have not yielded any conclusions, Matsumoto said.

Toshiba Corp. has lobbied a senior U.S. government official to realize an international nuclear fuel supply scheme that includes the construction of a nuclear waste repository in Mongolia, according to a copy of a letter by the company’s president obtained by Kyodo News.