Japan closes $ 9 billion experimental nuclear reactor

The Experimental Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor or Monju Breeder Reactor was commissioned in Japan in 1995. Its main feature is the ability to convert uranium into plutonium, which can then be used as fuel for nuclear power plants with traditional reactors and even for the production of weapons-grade plutonium.

Fast reactors are also advantageous because the isotope U238 used in them makes up 99% of all uranium mined. This means that it can be used to convert practically useless "raw" uranium ore into the most valuable nuclear fuel.

However, Japan's much-needed nuclear facility was plagued by setbacks almost immediately. Literally a few months after the launch, a large sodium leak occurred at the Monju reactor, which resulted in the release of toxic gases and damage to part of the reactor. As a result, it had to be decommissioned by 2010.

But even after the restart in 2010, serious problems emerged. In particular, it turned out that part of the reactor had not been subjected to the necessary technical checks for a long time.

It is estimated that $ 4 billion would have to be spent on the complete restoration of the reactor, with a total cost of $ 9 billion, as a result of which the Japanese government decided to shut down and then sell it.

But this does not mean that Japan will completely abandon fast reactors. Reportedly, a decision has already been made to build a new installation to replace the Monju reactor, even though many nuclear projects have been phased out following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.