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Japan scraps plan to generate electricity at troubled fast breeder reactor: Report

Published on Feb 7, 2014 4:30 PM
The government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, would like to get some reactors back online, which they see as the best way to plug the country's energy gap and reduce the yawning trade deficit caused by the need to import mountains of fossil fuels. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will scrap plans to generate electricity at its multi-billion dollar experimental Monju fast breeder reactor, a media report said on Friday, in a move that could affect the nation's nuclear fuel cycle programme.

Monju was designed to generate more fuel than it consumes via nuclear chain reaction, and was intended to be at the core of a programme that would reuse spent fissile materials in a country that has few natural resources of its own.

But its complex technology has been plagued with problems and setbacks that have left it idling for more than a decade, with little return on the initial 1 trillion yen (S$12.4 billion) construction outlay and the 50 million yen it uses every day in running costs, even while shut down.

The government will review its overall nuclear energy plan, with the aim of repurposing Monju into a research centre for reducing spent fissile fuels, the business daily Nikkei reported.

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