The Japanese government admitted in December that nuclear substances have been found in the waste of domestic facilities subject to International Atomic Energy Agency inspection, but left unreported to the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said in a news conference that the matter will be reported to the IAEA soon, but did not say how much nuclear material was involved.
- The science ministry, which oversees the JAEA, expanded the scope of investigation this August to about 250 facilities subject to the IAEA’s safeguard program, finding unaccounted-for nuclear materials in waste at 14 facilities, including some 4 tons of low-enriched uranium at a private nuclear fuel company.
- The ministry also found radioactive substances in waste disposed of after the safeguard deal took effect while investigating the Chubu, Hokuriku and Chugoku electric powercompanies — and other nuclear energy firms.
- In October 2010, unaccounted-for nuclear substances were found in waste from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, the sources said. The waste was disposed of before the 1977 effectuation of a safeguard agreement between Japan and the IAEA.
- In a follow-up investigation, the government found some 2.8 kg of highly enriched uranium solidified with cement and 636 grams of plutonium at the JAEA’s Nuclear Science Research Institute in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, where a fatal criticality accident occurred in 1999.
On February 26th, 1968, Japan and the United States signed an agreement regarding the civil use of Atomic Energy, which states that Plutonium and uranium-233 and
high enriched uranium, shall only be stored in a facility to which the parties agree.