Sunday, May 4, 2014

International Nuclear Cooperation: Japan's Monju Reactor to Help France's Astrid, UK's Sellafield to Help Japan's TEPCO

As Japan's Prime Minister Abe tours Europe, he is securing the cooperation from Europe's largest nuclear nations that he hopes (I think) will enhance the status of Japan as a major nuclear nation and secure the nuclear future for Japan.

With France, Mr. Abe is offering Japan's Monju fast breeder reactor to conduct tests for the Astrid.

What's the Astrid? From the wiki entry for Generation IV reactors:

The European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative is funding three Generation IV reactor systems, one of which is a sodium-cooled fast reactor, called ASTRID, Advanced Sodium Technical Reactor for Industrial Demonstration, Areva, CEA and EDF are leading the design with British collaboration.[13][14] Astrid will be rated about 600 MWe and is expected to be built in France, with construction slated to begin in 2017 near to the Phénix reactor.[9]

Mr. Abe is eager to justify Japan's fuel cycle policy, and he wants to make nuclear technology and military weaponry as two of the major exports from Japan for which his government wants to become the top salesman.

From Nikkei Asia (4/30/2014; emphasis is mine):

Japan, France to work together on next-generation reactors

TOKYO -- The Japanese and French governments are working toward an agreement to cooperate in the development of fast reactors, a technology designed to reduce nuclear waste.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Francois Hollande will likely affirm the partnership in Paris on May 5. The agreement would build on an earlier comprehensive partnership formed last June in the field of nuclear energy.

Fast neutron reactors convert spent fuel, which remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years, into materials that emit radiation for just a few hundred years, thus helping to reduce overall nuclear waste.

When put into practical operation, such a reactor would generate electricity and cut down on nuclear waste at the same time.

France is developing the Astrid (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration), which it plans to start operating around 2025, but it lacks sufficient reactors to conduct tests. Japan will offer up its Monju prototype fast breeder reactor, which has been idle due to safety concerns, for the tests.


Good luck France. Workers, engineers, and scientists at Monju say they are not comfortable working there, unsure about safety.

Then, TEPCO has announced that they will closely collaborate with the UK's Sellafield Ltd. whose expertise in decommissioning a troubled reactor could benefit TEPCO in decommissioning Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

The Windscale accident was an INES Level 5 accident.

From TEPCO's presentation in English (5/2/2014):


Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) considers it would be beneficial to share expertise with overseas operators which have similar decommissioning experience, to decommission Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

TEPCO has agreed with Sellafield Ltd. on exchanging information relating to the management and technology of decommissioning, towards a safer and stable decontamination and decommissioning at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Sellafield Ltd. is a company in UK which has engaged in the decommissioning of a reactor and radioactive waste facilities. On ahead of the formal information exchanging agreement, the two companies signed a cooperation statement, which clarifies the objectives and significance of the agreement.

Content of the Statement (Objectives and significance of the information exchanging agreement)

Overview of the objectives

  • Sharing expertise, experience and technology in radioactive waste management, clean up and decommissioning:

  • Visits in both directions (Fukushima Daiichi NPS, Sellafield) by representatives from both organisations, sharing of information / reports and similar exercises

  • Contributing to achieving the goals for both sites by learning from the similar challenges

  • Continuously assessing the effectiveness of cooperation

Overview of the significance

  • Proper visibility of the suppliers’ contribution

  • Strengthening of the links between our businesses and wider, civil society

  • Positive support of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) etc.

About technologies/knowledge of Sellafield Ltd.

  • Sellafield is working with the decommissioning of the Windscale nuclear reactor, which suffered radiation leak (INES-5).

  • It deals with the decommissioning and risk-reducing measurements fo the other facilities with high risk of radiation leakage

  • It has an experience of dealing contaminated water leak to the ground

It is clear from the comment by Mr. Naohiro Masuda, Chief Decommissioning Officer of a new TEPCO company called Fukushima Daiichi D&D Engineering Company, that this deal was brokered by the Japanese government and the UK government, regardless of whether TEPCO wanted it or not.

Mr. Masuda was the plant manager of Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant, which came very close to core melt after the loss of power after the earthquake on March 11, 2011. What the workers did under his leadership and why the core melt did not happen at Fukushima II would be worth recalling.


Anonymous said...

Monju, of Buddhist wisdom, Astrid, the divine strengh, Phenix and Superphenix, reborn from theirs ashes.
On paper, it works, or it should : breeding.
Wiki in French says Superphenix was not that bad, but closed for political reasons ( to please the Greens and anti-nukes ) - it was also the time of Tchernobyl.
Yet, this wonder was let down by many. Others still hope.

Anonymous said...

"Others still hope.", says Phiphi

Others hope the forest will be seen for the trees: not only was .. "The Windscale accident .. an INES Level 5 accident." but the dumping of corroded cladding water and further reprocessing water directly in the ocean at Sellafield was a literal crime against the biosphere.

Open-air cooling ponds for corroded spent fuel leads to direct unmitigated dumping of that pond water directly in the ocean, waters used for fishing.

The British headless horseman rides, without gain.
Perhaps the Earl of Rochester?
" .. Yet his dull and graceless bollocks hang an arse .. "

VyseLegendaire said...

Never before has a more inappropriate move been made.

Unknown said...

in france there's also the "i.t.e.r" project.
it's another crazy nuclear design then want to test. their moto is "the power of the sun, artificialy re-created on earth" on something like that.

they want to test other nuclear designs too:
there's also experimental "e.p.r" reactor in a town called "flamanville" in the north of france,

they are also trying to build a subterranean complex to put all the french nuclear waste deep under the soil. it's like the american wiip, french call it project "cigeo".

link to wiki page for french epr experimental reactor:
link to wiki page for french iter experimental project:
link to project cigeo:

the probability for a next accident happening in france is quite high and rising i think. the politic figures in france try to avoid the question of nuclear energy.
the subject is not up for public debate.
media are corrupted and controlled and do as they're told, they largely ignore everything nuclear related.

in essence in france what politics say about nuclear energy when asked (rarely): "nuclear is france's choice for energy, nothing more to say about it, next question please.."

it's disgusting.
they report very little, almost zero about fukushima for example, because it's bad advertisement for nuclear image and since france is heaviliy addicted on nuclear energy they try and avoid anything that might damage their money which happen to be in nuke business.

Unknown said...

@phiphi (first post)
french phoenix and super phoenix projects failled miserably like monju.
they were built, french tryed to exploit them but they couldn't make them work reliably. there were frequents little accidents, and operating them costed more money than it generated. like monju.
french are trying to make it look like it's a simple politic decision that halted the plant. like if their design for RNR was good and working. it's bullshit.

as usual,
they try to minimize problems and costs and manipulate information to promote nuclear energy

Anonymous said...

@ Nyarlathotep
That's more or less what I thought, yet not willing to ridicule myself - as I'm not graduated in nuclear / physic matters, I took care to quote the Wiki page, whatever amazing it looks. (Why wasn't it questionned or modified by anti-nukes is a remaining question).
Didn't you read some kind of sarcasm in the begining of my post?
I'm anti-nuke as nuke is now, it doesn't mean in a 100 years we won't be able to have a really clean nuke source of energy (deuterium, eg. )

P.S. don't say "the french" as the French (uppercase F, thank you) are debating these questions, whatever you might think, a people is not a hoard of sheeps.

Anonymous said...

Tepco, Sellafield & Arrevq. If there ever was a cabal...

Patrick Sullivan said...

Free energy was proven over a century ago. How does free energy work? Where is free energy coming from?

If the astronomers are right, we are in motion at 559.4 miles per second, combined planetary, solar and galactic system motion. So much speed, how do we connect the high speed motion to operate our machinery?

For those who may be interested, here's a link with some theoretical aspects of Velocity power sources:

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