U.S. Expert Warns of Japan's Reprocessing Plant

Henry Sokolski, executive director of the U.S. Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, raised concerns about Japan's nuclear reprocessing plant.

At a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs last Friday, he drew attention to policy allowing Japan to reprocess nuclear fuel while keeping Korea from doing so.

Tacit approval to let Japan reprocess nuclear fuel "would almost certainly prompt South Korea to initiate nuclear enrichment or reprocessing of their own as a hedge or weapons option," Sokolski said. "Congress should demand that our government encourage Japan to review its nuclear plans openly by calling for renegotiation of our nuclear cooperative agreement with them."

"The State Department believes the U.S. should not bother taking the option of renewing its agreement with Japan even though we are insisting on doing so with our other key Asian ally, South Korea," he also said. "This is not only insulting to Seoul, but reckless."

Japan is currently building a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture. Once it begins operations, the plant will produce enough plutonium to make about 2,000 atomic bombs a year.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 14, 2014 12:14 KST