Monju fast-breeder reactor will not restart in 2013

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Monju Fast Breeder Reactor

The Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan officially ordered the Japan Atomic Energy Agency on Wednesday to cease all preparations to restart the Monju fast-breeder reactor located in Tsuruga City.  The NRA ordered that the utility not only set aside enough manpower and funds to set up a maintenance and management system, but also a system for ensuring that all equipment has been checked.

The order was given after authorities found some missed check-ups and certifications on some 10,000 pieces of equipment and criticized the operator for inadequate safety management.  Atsuyuki Suzuki, the former President of JAEA, resigned on May 17th due to the criticism from the national regulator.

The JAEA will unlikely be able to restart the fast-breeder reactor before March of 2014 after the order.  Shunichi Tanaka, the head of the NRA, said that the JAEA lacks “a basic understanding of safety”.

Executive Vice President Yonezo Tsujikura said the agency will address the problem, but the national research institute will face even harsher scrutiny in the future after 34 of 55 researchers working at a laboratory in Tokai were exposed to radiation on May 23rd.

Source: Japan Times

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