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More problems at Monju plant

August 6, 2015

New maintenance breaches found at Monju plant



Aug. 5, 2015 - Updated 12:39 UTC+2


Japanese government inspectors have disclosed a violation of maintenance rules at the Monju fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture.

A report cites 800 cases of repair request documents being improperly stored.

The Monju plant, on the Sea of Japan coast, has an extensive history of safety problems. Monju was shut down after a sodium leak in 1995. It was restarted on a test basis in 2010, but was soon taken offline again due to a series of problems.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has effectively banned test runs at Monju since May 2013. It asked the plant's operator, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, to draw up a plan for improved maintenance. The operator submitted the plan last December.

Government officials reported the latest breaches to the authority on Wednesday. Their findings are from a follow-up inspection in June.

The operator says the improper storage of the documents posed no safety risk, because the repairs were carried out based on a computerized list that's not a part of the maintenance procedure.

Yet the authority has determined the practice to be a safety violation, noting similarities with previous problems at the plant.

Inspectors also learned that some records that are required to be kept for 10 years were missing.

The authority says it plans to step up its monitoring, describing the situation at Monju as serious.


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