Final exercise for Monju fuel removal suspended soon after start
Jiji -- Aug 20
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency suspended a final exercise in preparation for the removal of nuclear fuel assemblies from its Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, which is in the process of being decommissioned, only hours after it was started on Sunday morning.

In the final exercise, control rods used instead of real fuel assemblies will be removed from a container filled with sodium, a coolant. They will be then packed in cans after the sodium is rinsed off, and transported to a water-filled pool.

According to the agency, the exercise began around 9 a.m. (midnight Saturday GMT). But it was suspended as an alarm went off around 1:35 p.m. when the cans were to be set up. There was no impact on the environment from the development, JAEA officials said.

The agency hopes to launch the actual fuel removal within this month if it judges that the work can be conducted safely. But it remains unclear when the final exercise will be resumed, the officials said.

The fuel removal was initially planned to begin late last month, but has been postponed due in part to a series of problems in a final test to examine whether equipment to be used for the work functions properly.

News source: Jiji
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