Policy change in Japan

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Policy change in Japan

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Dec 19, 2018 7:23 pm

Japan's nuclear recycling policy runs aground
Supplies of uranium, used to fire nuclear power plants, are becoming increasingly plentiful globally, threatening to make redundant Japan's long-standing policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel. A pillar of the policy is a joint project with France to develop a fast reactor, which generates electricity using spent nuclear fuel. But The French government recently informed Tokyo of plans to freeze the project amid rising uranium reserves. The surprise move has brought Japan's nuclear fuel cycle policy to a standstill. Japan remains publicly committed to the program.
Roadmap compiled for development of fast reactors
Japan's new roadmap for the development of fast nuclear reactors targets the latter half of the 21st century for the start of commercial operation. A government working group on Tuesday compiled the roadmap, which pushes back the launch target by about 100 years from the initial plan. The development of fast nuclear reactors has been the pillar of Japan's nuclear fuel recycling policy. The state's long-term plan in 1967 targeted the late 1980s for the start of the commercial operation of fast reactors. But the plan has been delayed for many years --- the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju began operation in 1994. The following year, Monju had trouble with a coolant leak, and has since then experienced a series of problems. The government finally decided to scrap Monju in 2016, after spending over one trillion yen, or about 8.9 billion dollars on it. The new roadmap shows a target period for starting the commercial operation of fast reactors for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

jagdish
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Re: Policy change in Japan

Post by jagdish » Dec 21, 2018 8:16 pm

Sodium fires have been the bugbear of fast reactors. Perhaps someone should start a new coolant like sodium zirconium fluoride rather than throwing away the reactor with coolant.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Policy change in Japan

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Dec 27, 2018 2:27 pm

Japan Nuclear Recycling Policy at Standstill
Supplies of uranium, used to fire nuclear power plants, are becoming increasingly plentiful globally, threatening to make redundant Japan's long-standing policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel. A pillar of the policy is a joint project with France to develop a fast reactor, which generates electricity using spent nuclear fuel. But The French government recently informed Tokyo of plans to freeze the project amid rising uranium reserves, Nikkei reported. The surprise move has brought Japan's nuclear fuel cycle policy to a standstill. Japan remains publicly committed to the program. "The development of a fast reactor will contribute to the effective utilization of resources and energy self-sufficiency," said an official in charge of the project at the ministry of economy, trade and tindustry at a government meeting. But despite the remarks, the road map for developing a fast reactor announced by the ministry the same day does not give specifics on how the program will proceed. That is because the French government had earlier informed Japan behind the scenes that was ending its participation in the project and would cease funding it in 2020, although it is likely to continue research on a fast reactor on a smaller scale. Construction of nuclear power plants took off around the world in the 1960s, raising concerns that uranium reserves would be exhausted in the 21st century. Western countries and the former Soviet Union saw fast reactors as crucial to the efficient reuse of fuel and competed to develop them. Japan also made building a fast reactor central to its nuclear fuel cycle policy in the 1950s, when it began moves to introduce nuclear power. Its flagship was Monju, a prototype fast-breeder reactor in western Japan. Breeder reactors produce more nuclear fuel than they consume. But Monju was hit by a spate of difficulties and the government decided in 2016 to decommission the reactor with little to show for its decades of effort and billions of dollars spent.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Policy change in Japan

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Dec 29, 2018 2:22 pm

JAEA: Closing 79 nuclear facilities will cost at least 1.9 trillion yen
At least 1.9 trillion yen ($17.12 billion) will be needed for the planned scrapping of 79 nuclear facilities, including the failed Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, according to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). However, the JAEA’s estimate, released on Dec. 26, does not include maintenance expenses for the facilities nor costs to deal with leftover uranium and plutonium, meaning the actual tally could increase by hundreds of billions of yen. State subsidies account for the bulk of the JAEA’s budget, so taxpayers will likely foot most of the bill. The agency plans to shut down 79 of its 89 nuclear facilities, including research reactors and test buildings, over 60 to 70 years due to aging and the huge costs needed for their continued operations under stricter safety standards. According to the JAEA’s estimate, the cost to decommission the Tokai spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Ibaraki Prefecture will be 770 billion yen. But the overall cost would reach nearly 1 trillion yen if expenses on dealing with highly radioactive liquid waste, which is left after plutonium is extracted from spent fuel rods at the plant, are included. The problem-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, cost taxpayers more than 1 trillion yen ($8.82 billion) despite running for only 250 days during its two-decade operation. The JAEA listed the decommissioning cost for Monju at 150 billion yen. But the decommissioning process is expected to take 30 years, and expenses needed to maintain the facility over that period would lift the overall cost to 375 billion yen. The JAEA’s annual budget is about 180 billion yen, but it has been shrinking, forcing the agency to find other sources of capital while continuing its research. According to the JAEA’s new budget plan, decommissioning work will start at 44 facilities by fiscal 2028 and proceed almost in parallel. But the JAEA currently has no plan on how to handle plutonium stored at the facilities. In addition, no decision has been made on what to do with radioactive waste from the 79 facilities that could fill more than 560,000 200-liter drums.
The attempt to close the fuel cycle with sodium-cooled, solid-fueled fast breeder reactors and plutonium-uranium-dioxide fuel is going to leave a massive hangover for many nations, including Japan.

Asteroza
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Re: Policy change in Japan

Post by Asteroza » Jan 06, 2019 9:20 pm

This excessive shutdown mentality is going to cause more problems than just the above. Won't this put at risk distribution of needed services, which might get hobbled if too much work is concentrated at a single site that has to go down for unplanned maintenance? I'm thinking medical/industrial isotopes for one...


jagdish
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Re: Policy change in Japan

Post by jagdish » Jan 23, 2019 11:45 pm

Nuclear power is in decline in Japan and US and Western Europe due to high cost and safety concerns.
Highly combustible sodium coolant is the problem with fast reactors. Low melting salts should be tried out.
High pressure inside the reactors is the cause of higher costs of thermal reactors. It is time to revisit organic CHO compounds with right physical properties similar to IC engines lubricants to keep reactors low pressure and safe rather than costly engineering.
Asia, Africa and Latin America need a lot more energy and nuclear power has to continue.

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