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Ministries spar as Japan focuses on fast reactor project in France


The industry and science ministries were at odds over Japan’s shift toward France for nuclear fuel recycling efforts after Tokyo decided to scrap a “made-in-Japan” pillar of its energy policy.

The industry and science ministries were at odds over Japan’s shift toward France for nuclear fuel recycling efforts after Tokyo decided to scrap a “made-in-Japan” pillar of its energy policy.

Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, stressed the significance of working with France, a global leader in fast reactor technology, after a Sept. 21 meeting of Cabinet members agreed to terminate the problem-stricken Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor project.

Seko told reporters that his ministry, which is in charge of the nation’ s energy policy, is pinning its hopes on joint research, including France’s ASTRID (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration) fast reactor.

ASTRID is a crucial project for both Japan and France,” Seko said. “Japan has already participated in the project and has obtained various insights.”

The Monju fast-breeder reactor and the ASTRID fast reactor use similar technologies but are different.

Monju was designed to use plutonium as fuel for electricity generation and to produce more plutonium in the process.

ASTRID is centered on generating energy by consuming plutonium.

In addition, ASTRID is at a more advanced development stage than Monju.

There are four stages in the development of a nuclear reactor: experimental, prototype, demonstration and commercial.

ASTRID is in the demonstration stage while Monju is a prototype reactor.

Japan and France are already cooperating in the field of nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that Japan would cooperate with France on preparations for a fast reactor project when he met with French President Francois Hollande in June 2013.

The two countries also concluded a tie-up in technological development and cooperation for fast reactors, including ASTRID, in May 2014.

Prospects are brighter than Monju, and France is a reliable partner,” said an industry ministry official.

But the science ministry, which has clashed with the industry ministry over the fate of Monju, is skeptical.

It says the France-led project does not necessarily promise success, citing Super-Phenix, France’s demonstrator fast-breeder reactor that was forced to shut down after a series of accidents, including a sodium leak, like Monju.

The science ministry has oversight in the first two stages of reactor development, while the industry ministry takes over for the two more advanced stages.

ASTRID is expected to go into operation in the 2030s, but the science ministry said that schedule could face delays.

Sources familiar with the project also say ASTRID will likely cost more than initially expected.

Japan could end up serving as a cash cow,” a senior science ministry official said.

However, the industry ministry is not budging on its stance.

What matters is that Japan keeps alive its research on a fast reactor,” a high-ranking ministry official said. “Japan should not dwell on a home-grown project.”


September 25, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gov’t making final arrangements to scrap Monju reactor: sources

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The Japanese government is making final arrangements to scrap the trouble-prone Monju fast-breeder reactor, given the huge cost expected for its resumption, government sources said Tuesday.

The move comes as the government judged it cannot obtain public support for the huge amount of money needed to restart the reactor in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.

If realized, decommissioning of the reactor would require a drastic change in the nation’s nuclear fuel-recycle policy, in which Monju is designated to play a key part.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

South Korea wants nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment

the South Korean government also wants to acquire a uranium enrichment capacity to make the traditional fuel for reactors — another activity banned by the 1974 accord because enriched uranium can also be used for weapons………. South Korea’s ambition is tied to its drive to become a major exporter of nuclear reactors.

U.S. Wary of South Korea’s Plan to Reuse Nuclear Fuel, By CHOE SANG-HUN New York Times,  July 13, 2010 “……another nuclear dispute is emerging on the Korean Peninsula — this one between the United States and South Korea. South Korea, which has no oil reserves, derives 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors and is running out of space to store the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel. Continue reading

July 15, 2010 Posted by | politics international, South Korea | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strong protests in Japan against re-starting fast breeder nuclear reactor

Protests over re-opening of Japanese nuclear reactor,  Greenpeace International, 8 May 2010,  (Buddhika Weerasinghe-Japan) Japanese peace and human right activists together protest against to Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)has reactive controversial “fast-breeder” Monju nuclear reactor14 years after the plant was shut down following a liquid of sodium leaked and fire in 1995. Continue reading

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Japan, politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coolant system failures – bound to happen in Japan’s fast breeder reactors

Japanese fast breeder nuclear reactor malfunctions and worse are ‘inevitable, Nuclear Reaction, 1 May 2010,Coolant system mishap at Japan’s long-stalled Monju fast breeder are “inevitable” in such reactors
‘NEW YORK – The Monju prototype fast breeder nuclear power reactor, which has been gearing up for an early May restart after a 15-year stoppage, suffered a temporary glitch in a coolant leakage detector Tuesday……

…….. one Japanese nuclear industry source familiar with the Monju project was quoted as saying in Japan Today that malfunctions of this type – and worse – are “inevitable” in such reactors. The government-affiliated agency said the sodium detector, housed in an auxiliary building to the reactor at the Monju centre in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, came to a halt after a fan motor overheated, triggering an alarm at 11:59 p.m. Monday. A fire accompanying a sodium leak shut down the reactor in December 1995, and the project has not been restarted since.’ Nuclear News: Japanese fast breeder nuclear reactor malfunctions and worse are ‘inevitable’ – Nuclear Reaction – A Greenpeace blog about nuclear power

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Japan, technology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Global experience shows that reprocessing and breeder reactors are not viable

France has not solved its nuclear waste problems and now needs a repository in face of strong public opposition to the development of such a facility.

Nuclear waste reprocessing not viable for United States: study, Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine, 4/19/2010 Reprocessing of nuclear waste is neither an affordable remedy for future waste disposal in the United States nor will it eliminate the need for a deep geologic repository to replace Yucca Mountain, according to a recent study released by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), a nonprofit and nonpartisan research group. Continue reading

April 20, 2010 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s HEU to Russia, then back as Low Enriched Uranium

BSANNA NEWS 20 April 2010, Russia will convert Ukraine’s highly enriched uranium into low enriched, and return – MFA head KYIV, /UKRINFORM/. Ukraine’s highly enriched uranium will be sent to the Russian Federation, where it will be converted into low enriched, and then returned in Ukraine, says Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryschenko.In his words, the United States will also provide Ukraine with low enriched uranium.As reported, on April 12, during the talks with US President Barack Obama, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych expressed the intention to liquidate the national reserves of highly enriched uranium by the year of 2012.BSANNA News – BSANNA NEWS

April 20, 2010 Posted by | technology, Ukraine | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear salesmen a jump ahead of the public and politicians

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

19 April 2010, Now, AREVA and others have convinced the world’s political leaders that their gee-whiz (though only planned, and untested), nuclear systems to re-use old nuclear fuel,  are the answer to nuclear terrorism

How many ordinary people understand the words in nuclear technology?

How easily are we ordinary mortals told that it’s all too complex for us to understand.  We should trust “the nuclear experts”, – who, by the way, would be out of a job if this expensive way of boiling water (nuclear technology), were to be abandoned.

Re-using  dirty, dangerous old radioactive stuff produces even more dangerous radioactive stuff, which terrorists would, of course, like to get their hands on.

AREVA and the rest of them can call it Recycling, Reprocessing, Fast Breeder, Integral Fast Reactor – any fancy term to confuse us, They’re still just trying to sell us still similar expensive  ways to boil liquids

Safest would be to shut down the nuclear industry, clean up as best we can, and call it quits for this 70 year old failed energy experiment

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Christina's notes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Integral Fast Reactor – no more than a a Nuclear Pipe Dream

Nuclear power: no solution to climate change, Green Left , quoting Mark Diesendorf, 17 April 2010……….The integral fast reactor [which promises to use existing stockpiles of nuclear waste to make carbon-free energy,] doesn’t exist — it is the archetypal ink-moderated paper reactor. It’s true that a tiny physical version of this concept, called Experimental Breeder Reactor-2, once operated in the US. But experimental energy technologies are just that — experiments, designed to test a concept. Continue reading

April 19, 2010 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recycling nuclear fuel, dangerous and dirty

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

by Christina Macpherson 15 April 2010, It all sounded so good – removing  stockpiles of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) and plutonium from international sites, and using them to provide fuel for nuclear reactors in USA and Russia.

And one part is good. This program would end the dirty, dangerous, uranium mining industry.

However, nobody’s talked about :

1. the dangers of transporting this stuff, – risk of accident, as in the movement of HEU from Chile, theft, terrorist attack

2. what to do with the final resulting highly radioactive waste from this process of recycling .  It all still ends up with even more toxic, dangerous nuclear wastes.   Still a risk of theft. still a target for terrorists, still extremely long-lasting wastes, and no-one has found a way to safely dispose of nuclear wastes.

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Christina's notes, spinbuster | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Summit kept quiet about dangers of recycling nuclear fuel

Recycling fuel should end: Evans, Sydney Morning Herald, April 15, 2010, WASHINGTON: A former Australian foreign minister, Gareth Evans, was at the centre of a dispute over reactor suppliers recycling nuclear fuel even as US officials sought to skirt the issue during a summit in Washington organised by the President, Barack Obama.

Mr Evans is co-chairman of the Australian government’s international non-proliferation and disarmament commission. On Monday, at a conference of experts which is being held in parallel with Mr Obama’s nuclear security summit, he called for an end to fuel recycling.Mr Evans and a former US ambassador-at-large, Robert Gallucci, said recycling created stockpiles of dangerous materials ripe for theft………
The issue was not among those central to the Obama summit. Administration officials said last week they had deliberately avoided some of the more contentious issues that would not have won support from all participants. Gareth Evans

April 15, 2010 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s enriched uranium to go to Russia

“We are receiving money for the recycling (of the uranium) and the recycling will take place, chiefly, in Russia,”

Russia is likely to take Ukraine enriched uranium, Arab News By REUTERS Apr 14, 2010

KIEV: Russia will take the highly enriched uranium which Ukraine has announced it is giving up, senior officials on both sides said. Ukraine announced on Monday, at a 47-nation summit in Washington on prevention of nuclear terrorism, that it would get rid of a stockpile of highly enriched material by 2012. Continue reading

April 15, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weapons plutonium for USA and Russia’s fast neutron reactors

US, Russia, Sign Protocol to Dispose of 17 Thousand Weapons’ Worth of Plutonium,  Political Punch April 13, 2010 As the first Nuclear Security Summit began coming to a close, Secretary o f State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed that their countries would each dispose up at least 34 metric tons of excess weapon-grade plutonium – 68 metric tons total — enough material for approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons. Continue reading

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Russia, technology, USA | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA’s $96 billion nuclear waste mess

the federal government continues to search for suitable sites for storage of high-level wastes from nuclear power plants and for very long-lived radioactive materials from weapons production.

For the time being high-level waste remain on the sites where they were generated…….

Where to dump nuclear waste? Manila Bulletin By ATTY. ROMEO V. PEFIANCO February 17, 2010, Dumping nuclear waste has been a serious problem in the US since 1970 Continue reading

February 22, 2010 Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste reprocessing problems

Digging up the dirt on uranium – The National Newspaper Tamsin Carlisle,  February 20. 2010 “……Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods to extract more of their energy potential is another option but is expensive and intensely controversial. Continue reading

February 22, 2010 Posted by | France | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment