New Delays in Schedules ?
After delays in the fast-breeder and the reprocessing industry programs,
due mostly to the accidents at the Monju fast-breeder and the Tokai-mura
reprocessing plant (See further), there seems
to be a general questioning of the viability of the entire plutonium
program. There has also been local opposition to the use of MOX fuel,
notably from local governments.
The national government has requested the reorganisation of the research
institution, PNC, which has lost much credibility with cover-ups after
the two accidents at Monju and Tokai. PNC has started negotiations with
private-sector entities on partial transfer of its commercial fuel-cycle
technologies and resources. PNC will continue with research and development
activities, on FBR's, FBR fuel fabrication and reprocessing facilities
and the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. At the beginning of
July 1997, a committee set up by the government to recommend measures
to be respected by PNC stated that commercial activities should be entirely
transferred to the private sector. It also stated that the Japanese
designed advanced thermal reactor (Fugen) was to be abandoned - both
the prototype and the demonstration program.
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