Japan's fast-breeder reactor restarts operation after 14 years suspension

10:15, May 06, 2010      

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Japan's fast-breeder reactor, Monju, resumed operations Thursday in Fukui prefecture after more than 14 years of suspension due to a sodium coolant leak and a resultant fire.

The prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, restarted at 10:36 a.m. after plant staff pulled out rods that had prevented nuclear reaction, Kyodo News reported.

The reactor, operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, is expected to reach criticality, or the point when a nuclear chain reaction becomes self-sustaining, on Saturday, the report said.

The reactor is then to gradually raise its power output and begin full-fledged operations in the spring of 2013.

Unlike regular light-water reactors that run on uranium, a fast- breeder reactor uses an oxide mix of plutonium and uranium and is designed to generate more plutonium than it burns.

Source: Xinhua
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