Japan officially adopts roadmap for fast reactors

Japan's government has adopted a fast nuclear reactor development plan that pushes back the target date for full-fledged operations to the latter half of the 21st century.

Relevant cabinet ministers endorsed the plan on Friday. The launch target is the first they've set for such reactors since the 2011 nuclear plant accident in Fukushima Prefecture.

Fast nuclear reactors use plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel. They're considered essential for Japan's nuclear fuel recycling policy.

The new operational target is up to 100 years later than stipulated in an initial government plan compiled in 1967.

The initial project centered on research involving the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju. But the reactor suffered a fire caused by a coolant leak in 1995, and was later hit by more safety problems.

The government finally decided to scrap Monju in 2016, after spending more than one trillion yen, or about 8.9 billion dollars, on the project. The reactor operated for just 250 days during its lifespan of 22 years.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at Friday's meeting that all parties involved need to strengthen their cooperation to develop a fast nuclear reactor. He added that the government must act in unity.