The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
Fukui governor accepts decision to decommission Monju reactor
Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa has ditched his opposition to the central government’s plans to decommission the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in his prefecture.
Nishikawa had criticized Tokyo for deciding to decommission the reactor in Tsuruga without offering adequate assurances to local residents about such a massive project.
But during a meeting held at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo early June 7, he said, “Decommissioning of the Monju fast-breeder reactor is inevitable.”
At the meeting, attended by relevant Cabinet ministers, the government presented Nishikawa with a basic policy to remove spent nuclear fuel from the reactor in five and a half years and complete decommissioning in 30 years.
Hirokazu Matsuno, the science and technology minister, explained that the basic policy includes a plan to transfer spent nuclear fuel outside the prefecture as demanded by Fukui prefectural authorities.
The government will soon formally adopt the basic policy on decommissioning. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which operates the Monju reactor, will then draft its own plan for the project.
The government decided to decommission Monju at the end of last year and was initially expected to present the basic plan in April. However, Nishikawa had been airing concerns about the decommissioning.
Fukui governor approves scrapping of Monju reactor
The governor of Fukui in central Japan has consented to dismantling the prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor in the prefecture.
The Japanese government decided in December to scrap the Monju reactor over a period of 30 years, following a series of safety management problems. It cited rising costs.
Governor Issei Nishikawa had opposed the plan, expressing concerns about the safety of the dismantling process.
Nishikawa met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and science minister Hirokazu Matsuno on Wednesday in Tokyo.
Matsuno explained the basic plan for scrapping the reactor. The science minister said spent nuclear fuel and sodium coolant would be moved out of the prefecture in future.
He also said the government will come up with a development plan for the host city of Tsuruga by the next fiscal year. He said this would make the city a hub of nuclear research and personnel training.
Governor Nishikawa said he confirmed the government’s basic plan for decommissioning and revitalizing the community. He said he had no choice but to accept the decommissioning. He emphasized that the process be carried out safely.