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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Not giving up on fast reactors

December 18, 2018



Roadmap compiled for development of fast reactors




Japan's new roadmap for the development of fast nuclear reactors targets the latter half of the 21st century for the start of commercial operation.

A government working group on Tuesday compiled the roadmap, which pushes back the launch target by about 100 years from the initial plan.

The development of fast nuclear reactors has been the pillar of Japan's nuclear fuel recycling policy.

The state's long-term plan in 1967 targeted the late 1980s for the start of the commercial operation of fast reactors. But the plan has been delayed for many years --- the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju began operation in 1994. The following year, Monju had trouble with a coolant leak, and has since then experienced a series of problems.

The government finally decided to scrap Monju in 2016, after spending over one trillion yen, or about 8.9 billion dollars on it.

The new roadmap shows a target period for starting the commercial operation of fast reactors for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

Nagasaki University Professor Tatsujiro Suzuki, who is a former member of Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, says the delay in the target for starting operations indicates uncertainties over the environment surrounding nuclear energy in Japan.

Suzuki calls for discussions on long-term research and development that suit the current times, rather than merely pushing forward with the development of fast reactors.


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