Monju moves towards restart

9 March 2010

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is making final preparations to restart its Monju fast breeder reactor, which has been closed since a 1995 sodium-leak.

Monju FBR
Although shut down for 15 years, the Monju FBR is likely to begin startup testing in the next few months.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) decided on 10 February that it was safe to resume functional tests at Monju, after reviewing a report on a number of safety inspections carried out by JAEA.

That decision was then reported to the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), which confirmed that NISA's results were “reasonable” on 22 February.

JAEA has submitted a restart plant to Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), Fukui Prefecture and Tsuruga City authorities. The plan that JAEA has submitted involves reactor-core confirmation tests, with the reactor in a state of criticality to confirm the safety of the core. Experts from NISA are working to evaluate seismic safety.

However, as Monju has been out of operation for almost 15 years, its fuel assemblies have been in storage for a considerable period of time and it will take three years or so to carry out functional tests.

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