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Japanese put off nuclear fuel shipment

TOKYO, March 26 (UPI) -- Two Japanese utilities are putting off a shipment of nuclear fuel from France after the Fukushima disaster, executives say.

Kansai Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co. told Radio France Internationale Friday they were postponing the sea transport of uranium-plutonium mixed-oxide fuel that had been scheduled for the first week of April.

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They said the Japanese government, overwhelmed by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear accident, could not handle security for the shipment as well.

The French Green Party Friday urged its government to cancel the shipment, which it called "indecent" since the Fukushima reactor is fueled by the same substance.

Chubu Electric had planned to use the fuel at its Hamaoka plant but said Wednesday it would delay the operation until 2013 at least. It also is postponing building a sixth reactor at Hamaoka to 2016 from 2015.

"Chubu Electric needs to delay the launch of construction in order to win understanding from local people by ensuring the safety of the Hamaoka plant," a plant official said.

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