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PostPosted: Aug 24, 2017 2:25 pm 
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Japan is planning to open a massive spent reactor fuel reprocessing plant at Rokkasho in the fall of 2018. It is designed to produce 8,000 kilograms of weapons-usable plutonium, enough to make more than 1,000 nuclear weapons a year.


The article is about reactor-grade plutonium, right?


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PostPosted: Dec 06, 2017 4:41 pm 
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Operator submits 30-yr plan to scrap trouble-prone Monju reactor in Japan

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Under the latest proposal, the Monju operator -- the Japan Atomic Energy Agency -- plans to divide the 30-year period through 2047 into four phases. In the first phase, nuclear fuel will be extracted from the reactor core and other places by March 2022, followed by the second phase in which the operator prepares to decommission pipes and pumps where sodium coolant has circulated. The agency will begin scrapping the reactor in the third phase but has not disclosed detailed working processes from this point.


What a nightmare. How much do you want to bet they'll yet try to build another one?


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2017 12:31 pm 
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Japan’s Monju Fast Breeder Reactor Officially Shut Down For Good

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The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority for approval of a decommissioning plan for its prototype Monju fast breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture, southwest Japan, the Tokyo-based industry group Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) said. The application is required by law and as a result the Monju FBR is now officially classified as permanently shut down, JAIF said. The NRA has established a safety oversight team to monitor activities at the Monju site. Decommissioning and dismantling is scheduled to be finished by 2047 and cost $3.2bn (€2.86bn). JAIF said the immediate priority is to remove the fuel, which will be done by March 2023. JAIF said the government has not yet specified any alternative destination for the spent fuel, but said officials will work out details of the transportation plan before the fuel is completely removed from the reactor. In earlier statements, JAIF said this might happen by 2022. JAIF said the reactor’s sodium coolant will also be removed from Fukui Prefecture. Monju is a 246-MW sodium-cooled fast reactor designed to use mixed fuel rods of uranium and plutonium and to produce more fissile material than it consumes. Monju reached criticality for the first time in 1994, but it has mostly been offline since 1995 when 640 kg of liquid sodium leaked from a cooling system, causing a fire. Monju was allowed to restart in May 2010 after JAEA carried out a review of the plant’s design, and its safety procedures, which were shown to be inadequate. However, operation was again suspended in August 2010 after a fuel handling machine was dropped into the reactor during a refuelling outage. Monju is a 246-MW sodium-cooled fast reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power station. It was designed to use mixed fuel rods of uranium and plutonium and to produce more fuel than it consumes. Regarded as the core facility of the government’s policy for nuclear fuel recycling, Monju is different from conventional nuclear power plants, which use water as coolants. Monju uses sodium as the coolant, meaning more sophisticated technology is required for its operation.


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2017 6:07 pm 
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We are left wondering if the antinuclear hysteria would have shut down Monju permanently even if they hadn't dropped the fuel loader and had operated normally up to the big earthquake.


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PostPosted: Feb 01, 2018 3:06 pm 
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JAEA to begin defueling troubled Monju reactor in July


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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Japan prepares to shut troubled 'dream' nuclear reactor

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In July, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency will begin decommissioning what was hailed as a "dream" reactor that was expected to produce more nuclear fuel than it consumed. The government has so far spent more than 1 trillion yen ($9.44 billion) on the plant, which has barely ever operated.


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PostPosted: May 14, 2018 6:02 pm 
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Japan nuclear research project did not pay off: auditors

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Japan's nuclear research project using a fast-breeder reactor did not yield sufficient results despite taxpayer money spent on it, state auditors said Friday. The project involving the trouble-plagued Monju prototype reactor, developed to play a key role in fuel recycling, only achieved 16 percent of the planned results while costing the government at least 1.13 trillion yen ($10.3 billion), the Board of Audit of Japan said. The government has already decided to scrap the reactor, estimating an additional cost of 375 billion yen. But the board noted that the 30-year decommissioning plan could cost more.


Monju reactor project failed to pay off after swallowing Y1.13 trillion of taxpayers’ money: auditors

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But the report also spotlights the absence of a systematic evaluation system for the project. During the entire experiment, the auditors expressed their opinions on Monju’s research and development costs only once — in 2011. Monju was only up and running for 250 days in total after repeatedly failing to complete test items, according to the report.


Watch...they'll still try to build another sodium-metal-cooled fast breeder reactor. Just like France.


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PostPosted: May 14, 2018 7:25 pm 
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That leaves Russia as the fast reactor champion. India and China are following behind. Others have fallen on the wayside.
Closed cycle via fast reactors is really the future of nuclear energy. Thorium is useful as a source of superior fissile U233. Who will lead in thorium use?


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PostPosted: May 31, 2018 3:57 pm 
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Scaling back of French reactor a blow for nuke fuel reprocessing

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Japan's hopes of keeping its nuclear fuel recycling program alive faces another major obstacle with signs from France that a reactor project there will be scaled back because of swelling construction costs. After the nuclear fuel recycling program suffered a heavy blow with the decision in late 2016 to decommission the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, government officials turned to France's ASTRID program as an alternative information source for the fuel recycling plan. But French government officials said the Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration will have its planned power generation scaled back from the initial plan of 600 megawatts of electricity to between 100 and 200 megawatts. The major aim of the nuclear fuel recycling program is to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium, which would be used to create mixed-oxide fuel that could be burned in nuclear reactors. Government officials had hoped to use various technologies emerging from the ASTRID program to eventually construct a demonstration fast reactor in Japan. But a scaled-back ASTRID would mean knowledge needed for the demonstration reactor would not be available. According to several government sources, French government officials informed their Japanese counterparts of the planned reduction in the ASTRID power generation plan due mainly to the high construction costs. French officials also inquired about the possibility of Japan shouldering half the ASTRID construction burden, which could run anywhere between several hundreds of billions of yen to about 1 trillion yen ($9.2 billion). Plans call for constructing the ASTRID in France with construction to start sometime after 2023. Much like the Monju prototype reactor, liquid sodium would be used as a coolant in the ASTRID, which is designed to more easily burn plutonium as a fuel. Since the ASTRID would be a demonstration reactor that is one stage ahead of the Monju prototype, it would be closer to realization as a commercial reactor. When the government decided to decommission the problem-plagued Monju, it also decided to construct a demonstration fast reactor in Japan to maintain its nuclear fuel recycling program. The ASTRID initially was expected to provide valuable data for the future demonstration fast reactor by achieving complete power generation, a stage the Monju prototype never reached, as well as know-how related to maintenance, management and safety measures.


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PostPosted: Jun 14, 2018 7:10 pm 
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Japan approves 70-year plan to scrap nuclear reprocessing plant

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Japan’s nuclear watchdog approved a plan Wednesday to scrap a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant northeast of Tokyo over a 70-year period, with the cost projected at Y1 trillion ($9 billion).


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PostPosted: Jun 15, 2018 7:13 am 
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Success of fast reactors in Russia and failure elsewhere could only be an engineering failure in handling sodium coolant. Perhaps another coolant could help. Sodium-Zirconium fluoride could be it, even if it melts at a higher temperature.
Once the coolant problem is solved, Th-RG Pu could be introduced as a better fuel. It could be a solid fuel or dissolved in coolant as fluoride.
It is better to accept the salt combination as coolant in a fast spectrum rather than the NaF-99.95%Li6F to work in a thermal spectrum.


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PostPosted: Jun 21, 2018 1:17 pm 
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Japan should disconnect from fast-breeder reactor project

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France has decided to sharply scale down its ASTRID fast-reactor project, which is supported by Japan. France’s decision underscores afresh the dismal outlook of Japan’s plan to continue the development of fast-reactor technology by relying on an overseas project. Now that it has become unclear whether participation in the ASTRID project will pay off in future benefits that justify the huge investment required, Japan should pull out of the French undertaking. Fast reactors are a special type of nuclear reactors that burn plutonium as fuel. The ASTRID is a demonstration reactor, the stage in reactor technology development just before practical use. The French government has said the Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration, if it comes on stream, will generate 100 to 200 megawatts of electricity instead of 600 megawatts as originally planned. Paris will decide in 2024 whether the reactor will actually be built.


Here's the key point:

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The government would be utterly irresponsible if it aimlessly keeps pouring huge amounts of money into the project when there is no realistic possibility of the technology reaching the stage of practical application. If it abandons the plan to develop fast-reactor technology, the government will have to rethink the entire nuclear fuel recycling program.


Like pretty much every other country, Japan made sodium-fast-breeders, operating on the U-Pu cycle, the centerpiece of its plan for how to deal with the considerable wastes from PWRs and BWRs. They were trying to execute the "two-phase" plan I refer to in this article. And it has failed. They need to pull back and do the "three-phase" plan with thorium and molten-salt reactors instead.


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PostPosted: Jun 21, 2018 6:30 pm 
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If they pull out of ASTRID though, would japan really want to cooperate with russia? At this point, the only serious possible alternative partners who might have reason to burn plutonium would be russian. But, japan is still having a fit over islands near Hokkaido with the russians. There's probably no way in hell the japanese would ever partner with the chinese. Even without the cultural baggage, korea basically pulling a germany means nothing there. Maaaaaybe india, but that's iffy for all sorts of reasons.


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PostPosted: Jun 25, 2018 12:45 pm 
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Like pretty much every other country, Japan made sodium-fast-breeders, operating on the U-Pu cycle, the centerpiece of its plan for how to deal with the considerable wastes from PWRs and BWRs. They were trying to execute the "two-phase" plan I refer to in this article. And it has failed. They need to pull back and do the "three-phase" plan with thorium and molten-salt reactors instead.


Exactly. It is going to be interesting what will happen to this ASTRID SFR project. The French government will make a decision on whether to proceed with the construction by next year. The analysis of Asahi Shimbun is correct: there is no point in participating in this ASTRID project. The scaled-back version of ASTRID is smaller than either the Monju and Phenix reactors and the proposed innovation, with a changed geometry of the core, is perhaps not really that impressive. The Japanese might as well copy the Russian BN-600/800 design, which has some track record.

As for the French, whose nuclear research body CEA has already sunk a few hundred million Euros into the ASTRID project over the years (R&D, preparations, etc.): it is better to stop this and focus the efforts on other GenIV reactor designs, such as the MSR. It would be wise to shift the funds appropriated to ASTRID to an MSR prototype development program and try and do something new. The CNRS, the main scientific research body in France, already has a small research program. A collaboration with the CEA on developing an MSR prototype would make more sense than developing yet another SFR, which is a bit like reinventing the wheel. Would the Japanese also be interested ?


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