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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monju Nuclear Power Plant
The Monju plant
The Monju plant
Country Japan
Operator Japan Atomic Energy Agency
Built 1983
Start of commercial operation August 29, 1995
Reactors shut down 1 (suspended) (280 MW)
Other details
As of August 11, 2007

Monju (もんじゅ?) is Japan's only fast breeder reactor. Located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture in Japan, the reactor began construction in 1985 and first achieved criticality in April 1994.

Monju is a sodium-cooled, MOX-fueled loop type reactor with 3 primary coolant loops, producing 714 MWt / 280 MWe.

Monju was closed in 1995 following a serious sodium leak and fire. It was expected to reopen in 2008.

The successor to Monju is expected to be a larger demonstration plant that will be completed around 2025, built by the newly formed Mitsubishi FBR Systems company.[1]


Monju sodium leak and fire

On Dec. 8, 1995, the reactor suffered a serious accident. Intense vibration caused a thermowell inside a pipe carrying sodium coolant to break, possibly at a defective weld point, allowing several hundred kg of sodium to leak out onto the floor below the pipe. Upon coming into contact with the air, the liquid sodium reacted with oxygen and moisture in the air, filling the room with caustic fumes and producing temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius. The heat was so intense that it melted several steel structures in the room. An alarm sounded around 7:30 p.m., switching the system over to manual operations, but a full operational shutdown was not ordered until around 9:00 p.m., after the fumes were spotted. When investigators located the source of the spill they found as much as three tons of solidified sodium.

Fortunately, the leak occurred in the plant's secondary cooling system, so the sodium was not radioactive. However, there was massive public outrage in Japan when it was revealed that Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC), the semigovernmental agency then in charge of Monju, had tried to cover up the extent of the accident and resulting damage. This coverup included falsifying reports and the editing of a videotape taken immediately after the accident, as well as the issuing of a gag order to employees regarding the existence of the real tapes.


On November 24, 2000, Japan's Atomic Energy Commission announced their intention to restart the Monju reactor. This decision was met with resistance by the public, resulting in a series of court battles. On Jan. 27, 2003, the Nagoya High Court's Kanazawa branch made a ruling reversing its earlier 1983 approval to build the reactor, but then on May 30, 2005, Japan's Supreme Court gave the green light to reopen the Monju reactor.

The restart was scheduled for October 2008, having been moved back five months.[2]. A restart date of February 2009 was again delayed due to the discovery of holes in the reactor's auxiliary building; in Aug 2009 it was announced that restart might be in February 2010.[3] In February 2010, the JAEA officially obtained the OK from the Japanese Government to restart the reactor. The restart was definitely scheduled for the end of March.[4] In late February, the JAEA requested the Fukui Prefecture and the Tsuruga City for deliberation aimed at resuming test operation. With a go-ahead from both entities, the JAEA will be on track for starting criticality testing in March. After testing has begun, it will several months before commercial operation can resume - as for any new nuclear plant.[5]

See also


External links

Coordinates: 35°44′25″N 135°59′17″E / 35.74028°N 135.98806°E / 35.74028; 135.98806

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Monju (2800m) is a village in Khumbu.


The Sagarmatha National Park entrance is just outside the village. Here, travelers are required to show their passports and pay a 1,000rps entrance fee.

Get in

A five hour walk from Lukla - mostly either downhill or flat, but there a short but steep climb before entering the village.

  • Mount Kailash Lodge. A solar lit lodge located on the left near the center of the village. Mount Kailash is an old favorite and can offer rooms with attached bathrooms. Ask for their specialty coffee: 'Sherpaccino.'
  • Top Hill Lodge and Restaurant. A family owned lodge located in near the center of the village. Top Hill has been providing accommodation for trekkers for over fifteen years. [1]
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