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8/13/2009 by mdc
A relative perspective - a 1994 Report on the Japanese Strategic Uranium Reserve: A Safe and Economic Alternative to Plutonium, Science & Global Security, Volume 5, pp.1-31, by Paul Leventhal and Steven Dolley.

Japan could acquire a 50-year reserve of low-enriched uranium fuel for its nuclear
power plants at about half the cost of its plutonium program, providing energy security
and major economic and political benefits. Fuel for light-water reactors made with plutonium costs four to eight times as much as conventional uranium fuel.

Japan can develop a Strategic Uranium Reserve to address its energy security concerns and eliminate any need to proceed now with plutonium recycling with its many attendant costs and nuclear proliferation risks. Such a reserve could provide as much as a 50-year, energy-secure time frame within which Japan could develop the commercial breeder
reactor later on, if necessary. A discounted cash flow analysis demonstrates that, by
developing a 50-year uranium reserve instead of a commercial plutonium and breeder
program, Japan could save up to $22.7 billion. Savings would be greater - up to $38.4
billion, if an enriched-uranium reserve smaller than the extreme 50-year example or a
reserve of natural uranium were acquired. The reserve would also make a major contribution to keeping the Asia-Pacific region free of weapons-usable nuclear materials.

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