Fukui rejects govt. plan to scrap Monju

Fukui rejects govt. plan to scrap Monju

The Japanese government has informed Fukui Prefecture of its plans to scrap a fast-breeder nuclear reactor. But the prefecture rejected the plan.

The prototype Monju reactor has had a series of safety problems. Science minister Hirokazu Matsuno and industry minister Hiroshige Seko informed Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa of the plan in Tokyo on Monday.

Government officials said resuming operations at the reactor would take at least 8 years and operations would cost more than 540 billion yen, or 4.5 billion dollars over the next 16 years.

Instead of Monju, the officials plan to develop a new fast reactor through cooperation with France.

They also plan to make the area a center of nuclear power research that includes setting up of a new test reactor.

Fukui Governor Nishikawa rejected the plan, saying the central government hasn't fully discussed whether nuclear fuel recycling is possible without the resumption of the Monju reactor. He also said there hasn't been enough discussion about a core operator if the reactor is decommissioned.

Nishikawa demanded the government review the plan and reply.

The government said it will respond and soon hold a meeting of relevant ministers to make a decision.