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Japan reactor delayed 2 years in blow to plutonium reduction

New safety standards push back Oma plant's start date to 2026

A fuel rod is inserted into the reactor vessel inside the No. 1 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.    © Reuters

AOMORI/TOKYO -- A nuclear power plant in northern Japan designed to use recycled fuel has been pushed back by two years and will not start operation until at least 2026, marking a major setback for the country's commitment to drawing down its plutonium stockpile.

Tuesday's announcement by Electric Power Development constitutes the third construction delay for the Oma plant. It comes amid heightened international scrutiny of Japan's plutonium holdings, a product of the resource-poor country's effort to create a self-sustaining energy supply.

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