The United States would back a change to Japan’s nuclear fuel reprocessing program because there are concerns it may lead to an increase in its ally’s stockpile of unused plutonium, a senior White House official said. If Japan were to change course “they would find the United States to be supportive,” Jon Wolfsthal, senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council, said in a recent interview. Wolfsthal’s remark reflected concerns in President Barack Obama’s administration about the future of Japan’s large plutonium stockpiles, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. Wolfsthal said the upcoming renewal in 2018 of a bilateral nuclear agreement with Japan “has the potential to become a very controversial issue.” The 1988 pact authorizes Japan to reprocess used nuclear fuel when the fuel includes U.S.-produced uranium. “There is no question that plutonium recycling in Japan has been expensive, that it is a challenging future for Japan,” Wolfsthal said.
Japan Times 21st May 2016 read more »