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Last month’s announcement that the Monju experimental fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, would likely be decommissioned was an acknowledgement of what had been obvious for decades. Namely, that Monju was too fraught with technical and political problems to have ever stood a chance of success.

For Kansai, the decision brought a feeling of relief among those concerned about a plutonium-producing plant in their backyard, but a feeling of “now what?” among everyone else. No political leader in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara or Kobe either wistfully eulogized or passionately protested the recommendation that Monju, which has cost more than ¥1 trillion, be scrapped. In Fukui, however, it was a different story.

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