Imminent Monju Restart a Dangerous Gamble
March 5, 2010
The long-awaited restart of Japan's Monju Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor* (FBR) is fast approaching. It will be the first time Monju has operated since a sodium leak and fire in December 1995.
The consent of the governor of Fukui Prefecture and the Mayor of Tsuruga City is the final hurdle before Monju can be restarted. The mayor of Tsuruga City has already indicated that he will give his consent, but it is reported that the governor is demanding that Monju's seismic safety be confirmed first.
It is expected that seismic safety investigations will be finalized soon, possibly as early as next week. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), which owns and operates Monju, hopes to have all the procedures completed before the Prefectural Assembly's current session ends on March 17, so that it can restart Monju this month.
We believe restarting Monju is an unacceptable risk. The reactor was a dangerous design in the fist place and after such a long shut down the fuel, equipment and piping may have deteriorated. The inspections that have been conducted are insufficient to eliminate this possibility.
Click here for a detailed discussion of Monju's troubled history.
* Monju operates on plutonium fuel. In theory (though not in practice) it is supposed to breed more plutonium than it uses.
Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), Tokyo, Japan
Please feel free to contact CNIC for information and interviews.
Hideyuki Ban (Co-Director), Tel: +81-3-3357-3800
Philip White (International Liaison Officer), Tel: +81-3-3357-3800
Japanese speaking reporters might also be interested in interviewing Dr. Keiji Kobayashi, former instructor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute and Monju expert. Please contact CNIC for his contact details.
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