Monday, March 8, 2010

Japan moves ahead with advanced nukes

Monju FBR ready to resume trial operations

fuji(NucNet) The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) submitted a plan Mar 2 to the country's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the central Fukui prefecture for the resumption of trial operations at its prototype Monju fast breeder reactor (FBR) (Project website)

Monju, which is owned and operated by JAEA, was shut down in December 1995 after a sodium coolant leak.

Start-up tests were scheduled to start in February 2009, but were postponed after corrosion was discovered in the outdoor exhaust duct of the reactor auxiliary building.

After reviewing a report on the series of safety inspections conducted by JAEA at Monju since 1995, NISA concluded on 10 February 2010 that conditions were safe and ready for resumption of functional tests.

The findings were accepted as “reasonable” by Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) on 22 February 2010, paving the way for JAEA to submit plans for start-up tests.
JAEA is in the final stages of taking specific steps toward the resumption of operations at Monju, expected at the end of March 2010.

MOX Fuel approved for Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi-3

26 Feb (NucNet): The governor of Japan’s Fukushima prefecture is to approve the use of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel at the Fukushima-Daiichi-3 nuclear unit, owned and operated the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

Governor Yuhei Sato said at the Fukushima Prefectural Assembly on 16 February that he intended to approve the use of MOX fuel at the boiling water reactor (BWR) unit, paving the way for the program to continue after a nearly decade-long hiatus.

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theanphibian said...

I'm happy to hear updates for the Monju reactor, however, I find the links you provided to be less substantial than I hoped. Your NucNet link goes to

Which is general, not specific to the story and, I can't find any recent article referencing Monju.

Next, If you look into recent news stories you can see that the JAEA has just appealed to the prefecture AND local authorities for permission for "test operation", which means criticality testing. The timeline on the project website:

Gives the heading fy 2009 ~ for first criticality and onward, but it's 2010 and they don't yet have full approval for criticality. Then it's the better part of 2.5 years before full power operation. And there appear to be no guarantees that approval for criticality implies approval for full power operation.

I'm a huge proponent of the project, but I split these hairs precisely because the schedule has frustratingly been delayed over and over again. Can we get full power operation in 2012? I would hope, but it sounds doubtful when you read in-between the lines.

djysrv said...

This link in the blog post takes you to the project page.