New fast breeder reactor for Japan

6 June 2006

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (MITI) has unveiled plans to build a new fast breeder reactor by 2025 as part of a draft long-term nuclear energy strategy. The new programme accelerates an existing programme by five years.

The proposals would see a project to replace the ill-fated Monju prototype reactor in a bid to establish a nuclear fuel cycle based on reprocessing and recycling in fast reactors. Located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, and owned by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), operations at Monju were suspended in the wake of a sodium leak in 1995. The government now hopes to resume test operations during 2008.

MITI is expected to form a consortium with manufacturers, power companies and the JAEA in the autumn of 2006 to study how to promote the technology. Japan hopes to see commercial fast breeder technology in place by 2050.

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