– Japan Atomic Energy Agency Gears Up To Retrieve 3.3 Ton Device That Has Fallen INTO Monju Reactor Vessel!!!
– Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake (New York Times, June 17, 2011):
TSURUGA, Japan — Three hundred miles southwest of Fukushima, at a nuclear reactor perched on the slopes of this rustic peninsula, engineers are engaged in another precarious struggle.
The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor — a long-troubled national project — has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor’s inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core.
Engineers have tried repeatedly since the accident last August to recover the device, which appears to have gotten stuck. They will make another attempt as early as next week.
But critics warn that the recovery process is fraught with dangers because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium, a highly flammable substance, to cool the nuclear fuel.
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Tags: Global News, Japan, Monju, Nuclear, Nuclear reactors
– Mainichi English: “Agency gears up to retrieve device fallen inside Monju reactor” (Ex-SKF, May 24, 2011):
Ah, the horror, the horror….
Monju is a fast breeder reactor that uses sodium as coolant, which catches on fire on contact with air. It uses MOX-fuel.
3.3-tonne, 12-meter “In‐Vessel Transfer Machine” fell into the reactor vessel on August 26, 2010. The manager at the plant in charge of fuel exchange committed suicide in February this year.
From Mainichi Shinbun English (5/24/2011):
TSURUGA (Kyodo) — The Japan Atomic Energy Agency began preparatory engineering work Tuesday to set up equipment it will use to retrieve a device that fell inside the vessel of its prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju in Fukui Prefecture last August, agency officials said.
The agency aims to collect the cylindrical 3.3-ton device together with part of the vessel’s upper lid by mid-June to get the reactor back to normal by autumn, allowing the resumption of a test run of the 280,000-kilowatt prototype, the officials said.
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Tags: Global News, Government, Japan, Monju, Nuclear, Nuclear reactors, Politics, Society