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Nuclear Accident Plant has License Withdrawn

Date Posted: 2000-04-01

The Government of Japan has canceled the business license of a uranium processing plant operator, following the country’s worst nuclear accident that occurred at one of its plants last September. An official at the Science and Technology Agency said it had revoked the business license of JCO Co. indefinitely, following investigations into the accident in which 440 people were exposed to radiation and one later died.

It is the first time a firm has had its license taken away under Japan’s nuclear regulatory laws.

The accident was triggered when JCO workers put nearly eight times the proper amount of condensed uranium into a mixing tank at a processing plant in Tokaimura, about 140 km (90 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

JCO officials have said the company illegally revised a government-approved manual to allow its workers to use buckets instead of a pump to transfer the uranium solution into the mixing tank.

The Science and Technology agency official said the agency’s decision was based on JCO’s long-term use of unauthorized methods in processing nuclear fuel, such as the use of buckets, which violated specific provisions of the nuclear regulatory law.

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