Japan to draft ‘strategic’ plans for developing fast reactor


The Japanese government said Wednesday it plans to compile in 2018 a road map for the development of a fast reactor.

The plan was shown as part of a draft outline of Japan’s fast reactor development policies at a meeting of a public-private council on the policies headed by industry minister Hiroshige Seko.

According to the draft outline, a working-level task force will be set up to draw up the “strategic” road map based on the four principles: the use of domestic assets, the acquisition of cutting-edge knowledge through international networks, the pursuit of cost efficiency and the establishment of an integrated accountability system.

On the fate of the trouble-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture, the draft hinted at decommissioning.

Without the Monju’s restart, the same level of knowledge can be obtained through cooperation with France’s project to develop an advanced sodium technological reactor for industrial demonstration, or ASTRID, and by using the Joyo experimental fast-breeder reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture and large-scale sodium test facilities in Japan and abroad, it pointed out.

At the outset of the meeting of the Council on Fast Reactor Development, Seko said, “First, we will concentrate human resources on finalizing the design of a (post-Monju) demonstration reactor by making best use of international projects.”

For the demonstration reactor development, which is considered the most important task in pushing forward Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle program, the government plans to decide details of the work needed in the next decade.