Nuclear safety body slams safety standards at Monju fast breeder reactor

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Monju Fast Breeder Reactor - Japan
In May of this year, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority ordered the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to keep the Monju fast breeder reactor shut down after it found that over 14,000 pieces of equipment had not been properly inspected. At the time, the findings only added fuel to the fire for the public, who are calling upon the Japanese government to stop the development of a nuclear fuel recycling program and to decommission the Monju reactor.

According to government inspectors, Japan Atomic Energy Agency failed to meet 4 anti-terrorism requirements necessary to protect nuclear materials.  The JAEC failed to document the identification of visitors to sensitive areas, conduct background checks on visitors to the fast-breeder reactor, failed to conduct regular inspections of the equipment which records vehicle and personnel entry into the compound.  The government-funded agency also constructed fences around restricted areas that did not meet national standards.

Officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority pointed out that the levels of neglect witnessed at Monju were unprecedented, blamed JAEC for the poor performance, and stated that the violations do not meet the standards of a plutonium handling facility.

NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka said, “Nuclear security has been a global issue in recent years. It is hard to understand why they let it happen at a facility where a large amount of plutonium is handled”

“We are very sorry about these failures. We won’t let this happen again,” a spokesman for the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Source: NHK

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