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The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum opened its annual convention April 20 in Tokyo to discuss nuclear energy problems under the theme of “Atomic Energy: New Challenge.”

More than 1,000 scientists, scholars and interested members of the public are expected to participate in the three-day convention.

Discussion is expected to focus on the new course of nuclear development in the country following an accident at the Tokai plant of the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp. (PNC) last year and its false reports about the accident. That facility remains shut down.

In his opening speech, Takashi Mukaibo, chairman of the forum, said the PNC scandal proved that the nuclear industry — just like Japan’s political and economic systems — is not immune to system fatigue.

He stressed that the systems governing nuclear energy must be examined from new perspectives. Mukaibo also said nuclear energy must play a key role in preventing global warming.

He suggested promoting large-scale nuclear projects such as the development of fast-breeder reactors through international cooperation. Japan’s prototype fast-breeder reactor, Monju, has been shut down since a coolant leak accident in 1995 and subsequent PNC coverup attempt.

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