Japans Monju Fast-Breeder Nuclear Reactor Could Blow Up!





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Uploaded on Jun 29, 2011

300 miles southwest of Fukushima sits the Monju nuclear reactor - a prototype fast-breeder reactor filled to the brim with plutonium - the deadliest element on the face of the planet. "a 3 ton device fell into the Monju reactor blocking access to the nuclear fuel rods in the reactor core - and" "the procedure is extremely dangerous and could trigger an explosion in the nuclear fuel rods".
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Saturday, June 25, 2011 Monju reactor unclogged for restart Kyodo

Tsuruga Fukui Pref. — A device that fell last August into the vessel of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, was finally retrieved Friday, paving the way for resumed test runs by fall, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said.

But due to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, triggered by the March earthquake and tsunami, it is unclear whether the country's nuclear fuel recycling project, in which the troubled Monju prototype would play a key role, can move ahead as planned. Because it is meant to produce plutonium, were it to experience a leak accident, the danger would be grave.

Plutonium is the nuclear nightmare. A by-product of conventional power-station reactors, it is the key ingredient in nuclear weapons. And even when not made into bombs, it is a million-year radioactive waste legacy that is already costing the world billions of dollars a year to contain.

And yet, some scientists say, we have the technology to burn plutonium in a new generation of “fast” reactors. That could dispose of the waste problem, reducing the threat of radiation and nuclear proliferation, and at the same time generate vast amounts of low-carbon energy. It sounds too good to be true. So are the techno-optimists right — or should the conventional environmental revulsion at all things nuclear still hold? http://e360.yale.edu/feature/are_fast...
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