The cost of resuming operations at Japan’s trouble-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor is estimated to top ¥540 billion ($5.2 billion), the science ministry says.
The estimate was presented Friday at a meeting of government and private-sector officials who discussed the fate of the reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.
More than ¥1 trillion ($9.7 billion) has been spent on Monju, but it has only operated for a total of 250 days in the past 20 years due to a series of problems, including a leak of sodium coolant.
The government is considering options, including decommissioning the reactor. It plans to make a decision by the end of this year.
The ministry said the costs may far exceed ¥540 billion if the safety screening process by regulators is lengthy. The estimate does not include expenses for decommissioning the reactor.
The science ministry wants Monju to be maintained while the industry ministry is opposed to the idea.
Opposition to keeping Monju in place is expected to grow if a massive amount of money is needed for it to go back online.
The meeting brought together science minister Hirokazu Matsuno and industry minister Hiroshige Seko as well as nuclear industry executives, including Satoru Katsuno, chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.