Sunday, December 25, 2016

Monju is decided to shut down

Japan government finally decided to abandon "Monju," a fast-breeder nuclear reactor.

Independent: Japan scraps nuclear reactor that cost £7 billion after just 250 days' operation

Monju is the first and the only model of fast-breed reactors in Japan. It consumes plutonium to make energy, and through the process of conversion, it creates more nuclear fuel. Thus, Monju is so-called a permanent engine at least regarding producing fuel. As Japan has scarce fossil fuel, Monju had been expected to rescue the problem of the energy.

(This image is not Monju.)

However, it seems too difficult to operate Monju without any troubles. Monju encountered several failures for years. As a result, it was at work only for 250 days in there 22 years. Its operational cost reached 1 trillion JPY. And it will cost additionally 540 billion JPY and eight years' preparation for its restart. The amount of the sacrifice is far from compensatable.

The local officials are opposing the decommission because it will mean a loss of works related to operating Monju. Monju is placed in Fukui prefecture, which is a rural area suffering from decreasing population.

I expected Monju as a "dream reactor" previously. But it is acceptable to decide the scrapping it considering the cost-benefit. Rather, the judgment of the government may be delayed influenced by Concorde fallacy. Of, it simply negotiation among people associated with Monju project took a long time.

My past entry: Airbus' supersonic aircraft and Concorde fallacy

The government is planning another project to improve nuclear fuel cycle. It is crucial for Japan to survive the next era without fossil fuel. And it will be important for other countries, as oil is not unlimited.

The US became passive to the development of atomic power plant after some accidents, as well as the discovery of shale gas utilization. I wonder which nations will take the leadership to address this issue.

No comments:

Post a Comment