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Japan to abandon troubled Monju fast breeder reactor: Nikkei

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Good. Monju has been a complete financial boondoggle. Start the decommissioning and retrain the workers and scientists to come up with sustainable, nonnuke power sources.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The Monju is more evidence that Fukushima is not an isolated incident. Japan's nuke industry has long been plagued with serious and fundamental problems. Tokaimura is another on a long list.

The fact that Japan is now aggressively trying to sell its blighted and dangerous technology to developing countries is simply outrageous, and should be subject to international sanctions.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Abject criminal waste. Disgusting squandering of money.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The Monju reactor is inherently dangerous because it relies on plutonium, which is far more toxic than uranium. It also produces more plutonium than it consumes. Also the coolant is too corrosive to be used safely.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

There's a billion of your tax dollars up in smoke japan! And, it'll probably cost them just as much to decommission it as it did to build it. A billion dollars would have gone a very long way into developing alternatives like geothermal and hydroelectric, you know, the safe and reliable forms of electricity generation.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Disillusioned: "There's a billion of your tax dollars up in smoke japan!"

Ummm... more like a few trillion. The initial construction was 1 trillion, and as the article states it costs 50 million yen a day even when shut down, and it's been a decade. And what did they get in return? 60 minutes of power generated? This should have been scrapped a minute after it was proposed, but we all know the government, the power companies, and the pet projects they create to line their pockets with behind closed doors. Well done!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

We have wasted a lot of money on this but it's never too late.

Sometimes it's difficult to abandon a project because you have invested soooo much money but Abe can always blame the previous PMs and it's totally acceptable in this case.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"Sometimes it's difficult to abandon a project because you have invested soooo much money..."

Those people don't care a whit about our money. It's really about the bureaucrats and other members of Japan's atomic village" losing face. The journalist Peter Hatfield stated this back in the 90s (!) when commenting on Monju.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

"With fears that the material might make its way into the wrong hands and be used for nuclear weapons."

I wonder whose hands they are thinking of. It couldn't possibly be Abe's hands they mean, could it?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hide Suzuki: "but Abe can always blame the previous PMs"

Yes and no. It was on Abe's dime when a restart was pushed late last year, so it's on him as well.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@JeffLee

So what's your point ? We should continue wasting more money on Monju?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

One trillion yen plus 50 million per day in operating expenses over 20 years comes to about 1.365 trillion yen or very roughly $13 billion for 60 min of operation and one near disaster.

Will there be any outrage, or will the public revert to its collective role of tax paying sheep.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

How come every other country who has fast breeder reactors have them up & running, just after they are built. 10 years is a long time. Must be a Yakuza Money Laundering Scheme.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The problem is there hasn't been a really viable fast-breeder nuclear reactor built for commercial power generation. There has been several attempts, but every one of them--the Monju reactor included--proved to be engineering nightmares to operate. No wonder why even the Chinese and Indian scientists--who now have considerable interest in new nuclear reactor technology--are kind of skeptical about the whole idea to start with.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Only the Japanese people would put up with things like this. Raise taxes and waste money, the Japaneses bureaucrats are the best in the world at that. The Japanese Govt. has to be the most wasteful government of any of the so called developed countries.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Graham: "Will there be any outrage, or will the public revert to its collective role of tax paying sheep."

Tax paying sheep. And even if they do speak out, they can be imprisoned for doing so via the new secret law.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is good news. The monju was always a misguided project. I hope that they also stop the MOX plutonium cycle with shipments of MOX from France.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Where are the nuke supporters now on how reasonable nuclear energy is compared to other sources? Sound of crickets . . .

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Write it off this old Godzilla technology. Given your tectonics.... Better spent the 50million/day on geothermals or what not

But alas, you cannot write it off? What will your grandchildren say?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One little snag.... Mitsubishi FBR, a company founded in 2007, is planning to build a new FBR for launch in 2025 and a full commercial reactor by 2050. They plan to use the same liquid sodium reactor coolant that plagued the Monju plant, which was also partially built and operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the parent of Mitsubishi FBR. Those plans have NOT been cancelled.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Raymond Chuang

Where l am from in the USA we have had fast breeder reactors since 1951.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor

India’s first 40 MWt Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) attained criticality on 18 October 1985. India has developed the technology to produce the plutonium rich U-Pu mixed carbide fuel. This can be used in the Fast Breeder Reactor.

China Experimental Fast Reactor had a accident in 2011

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Raymond Chuang

Get your facts straight before you post.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Experimental_Fast_Reactor

The China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) is China's first fast nuclear reactor, and is located outside Beijing at the China Institute of Atomic Energy. It aims to provide China with fast-reactor design, construction, and operational experience, and will be a key facility for testing and researching components and materials to be used in subsequent fast reactors. It achieved first criticality on July 21, 2010.[1] It started generating power a year later on July 21, 2011.[2] Japan's Atomic Energy Agency (AEA) reported that the reactor stopped generating electricity in October 2011 following an accident; the director of the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) denied that any accident had occurred

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zurcronium:

" Where are the nuke supporters now on how reasonable nuclear energy "

This is not about nuclear energy. Fast breeder reactors have never gotten past the experimental stage, and the whole concept bethind them (including a plutionium cycle) is misguided. Note that all other industrial nations, including such engineering amateurs as Germany, have dropped their fast breeder projects long ago.

This is completely different from uranium powered nuclear power technology, for which we now have very safe designs.

You should not obfuscate the issue by lumping all that together as "nukes".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Soviet Union constructed a series of fast reactors, the first being mercury-cooled and fueled with plutonium metal, and the later plants sodium-cooled and fueled with plutonium oxide.

BR-1 (1955) was 100W (thermal) was followed by BR-2 at 100 kW and then the 5MW BR-5.

BOR-60 (first criticality 1969) was 60 MW, with construction started in 1965.[80]

BN-350 (1973) was the first full-scale Soviet FBR. Constructed on the Mangyshlak Peninsula in Kazakhstan and on the shore of the Caspian Sea, it supplied 130MW of electricity plus 80,000 tonnes per day of desalinated fresh water to the city of Aktau. Its total output was regarded as the equivalent of 350MWe, hence the designation.

BN-600 (1986, end of life 2020) is 1470MWth / 600MWe.[81][82] Russia

There are plans for the construction of two larger plants, BN-800 (800 MWe) at Beloyarsk, expected to be completed in Q1/2013, and BN-1200 (1200 MWe), expected to be completed in 2018.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

50 million yen it uses every day in running costs, even while shut down.

How much does Fukushima Daiichi cost per day? And the Yakuza are the sub contractors

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Zircronium

Where are the nuke supporters now on how reasonable nuclear energy is compared to other sources? Sound of crickets

I think you'll find that any project, if shut down by legal red-tape for 15 years, will have profitability problems - amongst other issues.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They can always turn it into a space portal that speeds the traveler to another galaxy to meet God.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't need to be worried. This power plant is not located near the ocean. Just turn off plants near the ocean and turn on the remaining. It has billion of dollars of public tax invested.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Monju was designed to generate more fuel than it consumes via nuclear chain reaction

... surely this is a typo. This idea would break Newton's first law of thermodynamics, that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed in form. The very idea that you can put in 1 unit of fuel (1 unit of energy in a solid state) and get out 1.1 units of fuel (1.1 units of energy) is.... dubious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And what to do with the 45 tons of weapons grade plutonium being stored in the UK and the 1.5 tons stored here? Enough for more than 5,000 atomic war heads?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the real purpose of the fast breeder reactor is to produce plutionium for the American atomic waepons program. to date, Japan had produced about 45 tons of weapons grade plutonium which is being stored in the UK, and a further 1.5 tons is being stored in this country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy, It's "breeding" fuel that wouldn't ordinarily be fuel, but Newton is still happy.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/fasbre.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With all of the geothermal sites in Japan one would come to believe that there were just one of them that would supply the heat needed for a geothermal electric plant.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FarmboyFeb. 08, 2014 - 09:47PM JST Frungy, It's "breeding" fuel that wouldn't ordinarily be fuel, but Newton is still happy.

Thank you very much. So if I understood that correctly, uranium 238 goes in and more plutonium 239 comes out. Plutonium 239 is then used in other power stations. No energy is created, they just use the Uranium 238 in a way that the product is something that they want. Quite clever.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

uranium 238 goes in and more plutonium 239 comes out. Plutonium 239 is then used in other power stations. No energy

The basic purpose of a fast breeder is to produce plutonium 239 which is used in atomic weapons.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just hope they will not abandon - literally - this site. This such a huge amount of cr%$# nuclear dump!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy:

" ... surely this is a typo. This idea would break Newton's first law of thermodynamics, that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed in form. "

No, not a typo at all. That is exactly what "fast breeders" are supposed to do: create more nuclear fuel while they are operating. Naturally, the idea sounds very tempting to politicians.

Alas, the nuclear fuel that they produce is Plutonium, which has its hellish name for a reason. And the whole process is so complex, and riddled with problems, that nobody has been able to implement it safely.

As far are we know today, fast breeders are an expensive way to nowhere.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi,

The basic purpose of a fast breeder is to produce plutonium 239 which is used in atomic weapons.

and also used in nuclear fuel.

Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years.

Which means it's not very radioactive, unlike Iodine-131 which has a half-life of 8 days.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Star-viking

Japan has 45 tons or 40823 kilograms of weapons grade Plutonium-239 and atomic warheads need just 8 kilograms, 100 times stronger than those dropped on the country. BTW, that's enough plutonium for 5,000 warheads.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Bear27840

Geothermal plants are coming

Kyushu Electric to Build 5MW Geothermal Plant in Southwest Japan

<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/kyushu-electric-to-build-5mw-geothermal-plant-in-southwest-japan.html >

Toshiba to Build 2MW Geothermal Power Station With Orix in Japan

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-19/toshiba-to-build-2mw-geothermal-power-station-with-orix-in-japan.html

Construction plans for mid-sized geothermal plants booming across Japan

http://fukushimaupdate.com/construction-plans-for-mid-sized-geothermal-plants-booming-across-japan/

Renaissance of Japanese geothermal market on the horizon

http://thinkgeoenergy.com/archives/17908

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi

Japan has 45 tons or 40823 kilograms of weapons grade Plutonium-239 and atomic warheads need just 8 kilograms, 100 times stronger than those dropped on the country. BTW, that's enough plutonium for 5,000 warheads.

And most of that plutonium is stored in the UK and France.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Star-viking

And most of that plutonium is stored in the UK and France.

Actually yes and most of it is in the UK at Sellafield but it still belongs to Japan. There's a further 100+ tons of unprocessed plutonium too?

On 17 February 2005, the UK Atomic Energy Authority reported that 29.6 kg (65.3 lb) of plutonium was unaccounted for in auditing records at the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Utrack:

" Geothermal plants are coming "

Yes, but as a replacement for conventional thermal or nuclear power plants? Forget it. Just just look the ridiculous relation between demand and potential output (even if every single onsen Japan is converted to a mini geothermal plant).

What works in Iceland with its 200,000 residents does not work in Japan.

We really should stop painting these green pipedreams as realistic solutions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@WilliB

I don't think Geothermal plants are the only solution but a part of the solution. Waste to energy power plants can play a larger part in energy generation along with hydro electric power plants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Utrack:

" Waste to energy power plants can play a larger part in energy generation along with hydro electric power plants. "

Waste-to-energy plants can, by definition, only produce a fraction of the power that has already been for the production of the waste, so it is a non-starter. And Hydro-electric is pretty much maxed out in Japan.

Face it, there is no realistic alternative to conventional power plants. And with peak oil coming, nuclear has to be part of the mix.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@zichi

Actually yes and most of it is in the UK at Sellafield but it still belongs to Japan. There's a further 100+ tons of unprocessed plutonium too?

So little chance that will be used for Japanese weapons. There is also a question over whether reprocessed plutonium will have enough pu-239 and low enough amounts of other impurities to make effective weapons. I'm wary of claims in the media over Nation X having Y amount of pu-239 when various factors can make that pu-239 unusable in weapons.

On 17 February 2005, the UK Atomic Energy Authority reported that 29.6 kg (65.3 lb) of plutonium was unaccounted for in auditing records at the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant.

Could be an accounting error, or the plutonium was given to an ally in exchange for something else. It doesn't have to be something sinister.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Star-viking

I can only guess that some of the experts and security don't agree with you since the plutonium storage is the most restricted on the site and has more armed guards than the Queen, Prime Minister and Bank of England combined.

Guess if they can make the GE Prism reactor a reality and work it will eventually use up all the stockpile of plutonium, provided countries like Japan agree to that.

BTW the world stockpile of plutionium is monitored down to the last gram.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi

I can only guess that some of the experts and security don't agree with you since the plutonium storage is the most restricted on the site and has more armed guards than the Queen, Prime Minister and Bank of England combined.

The UKAEA said: "there was no reason to think there was any "real loss" of plutonium.

In a statement it said: "The material unaccounted for (MUF) figures for 2003/04 were all within international standards of expected measurement accuracies for closing a nuclear material balance at the type of facility concerned."

Guess if they can make the GE Prism reactor a reality and work it will eventually use up all the stockpile of plutonium, provided countries like Japan agree to that."

Prism would be nice.

BTW the world stockpile of plutionium is monitored down to the last gram.

Not according to the UKAEA.

Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4272691.stm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has 45 tons or 40823 kilograms of weapons grade Plutonium-239 and atomic warheads need just 8 kilograms, 100 times stronger than those dropped on the country. BTW, that's enough plutonium for 5,000 warheads.

Bigga-badda-boom!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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