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Monju Nuclear Plant Operator Ordered To Stop Restart Preparation

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Japan 72

AmiMoJo writes "Japan's nuclear regulator has ordered the operator of the Monju fast-breeder reactor to suspend preparation for its restart until measures are put in place for its proper maintenance and management. The regulators acted after finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment. They ordered that sufficient manpower and funds be allocated for maintenance and management. The reactor in Tsuruga City, central Japan, is at the center of the nation's nuclear-fuel recycling policy. But its operator has been hampered by a series of problems."

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72 comments

So, not a Tepco site (4, Informative)

dhammabum (190105) | about a year ago | (#43869355)

According to the Japan Times [japantimes.co.jp], the Japan Atomic Energy Agency runs the site. Well done for not allowing them to get away with the same old practices.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869761)

I agree with this. Nuclear power is very dangerous if it is not used carefully. We have all technology to make it secure but no investment is applied for this.
bookmarkingarea.com

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869943)

Nuclear is not just dangerous, it's a money loser for the unforeseeable future (we will reincarnate approx. 199 times before the material become harmless), and a future environmental disaster as well. This is not something we know how to store safely for that long, and there's no guarantee a future leaders will keep adding to the costs of safely maintaining the numerous storage sites around the world.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (2)

trum4n (982031) | about a year ago | (#43870961)

We pull radioactive fuel out of the ground, refine it, deplete it (partially) then bury it again. Why does everyone not get this. It comes from the earth, and we return it there! When we return it, it's even slightly less radioactive than it started.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43871761)

You may be joking. Fair enough. If however you are not then please take your well refined BS and bury it where it comes from.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

trum4n (982031) | about a year ago | (#43871863)

Where does your country put its spent fuel? We in the USA put it in this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository [wikipedia.org]

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43872661)

No we dont you lier, Yucca mountain project was shut down in 2009.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43873447)

No you don't, you put it in the Hanford site [reuters.com] until it leaks into the Columbia river then you start suing people and evacuate.

Re:Welcome to the new age. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#43871835)

The article is about a breeder reactor. So actually when it is done the material is more radioactive.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43871875)

And much more concentrated and les stable. Try not to post deceptive comments. It makes you pro-nuclear pundits look sneaky and unreliable.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43873077)

Nuclear is not just dangerous, it's a money loser for the unforeseeable future (we will reincarnate approx. 199 times before the material become harmless), and a future environmental disaster as well. This is not something we know how to store safely for that long, and there's no guarantee a future leaders will keep adding to the costs of safely maintaining the numerous storage sites around the world.

That word in the summary, "breeder" reactor. Go look it up. It burns nuclear waste for fuel, what remains has a significantly lower half-life. With breeder reactors you have dramatically less quantities of waste (as low as 1% is possible with certain designs), and that small amount of waste that remains only needs to be stored on the order of decades, as opposed to hundreds or thousands of years.

"I don't understand anything about nuclear reactors, but I'm afraid of the word 'nuclear'" types really pisses me off.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43869847)

Unfortunately Japan seems to easily forget about Fukushima and its effects, side effects and future effects. The new Japanese government is in favor of a drastic change regarding power plants future: from an all-stopped-and-deep-check (May 6, 2012) to a lets-go-restart-asap-what-you-can policy. They probably estimate the probability of another such F-event very low (F as in Fukushima, but you can put what you want here). This is one of the globalization problem: economical globalization trend, without global consensus on fundamental issues.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43869961)

Unfortunately Japan seems to easily forget about Fukushima and its effects, side effects and future effects.

I see no indication of this.

The new Japanese government is in favor of a drastic change regarding power plants future: from an all-stopped-and-deep-check (May 6, 2012) to a lets-go-restart-asap-what-you-can policy.

Why do you consider that a worse approach? There's never been a safety or engineering justification for a "all-stopped-and-deep-check" approach. Magnitude 9 earthquakes don't happen all the time and that was a fundamental cause of the Fukushima accident.

They probably estimate the probability of another such F-event very low (F as in Fukushima, but you can put what you want here).

Given that only one "F-event" has happened in the history of nuclear power, I think it is fair to consider the probability of such events to be very low.

This is one of the globalization problem: economical globalization trend, without global consensus on fundamental issues.

No, it is common sense risk management taking over. There's no safety reason to slow down the restarting of well maintained nuclear reactors. And there's plenty of costs to such delays.

And I have to roll my eyes at "global consensus". I think Japan wouldn't be satisfied with the sort of compromises that it'd have to do in order to reach a consensus with say, Russia, the US, and China, all who appear to take some sort of short cuts with respect to nuclear power.

For example, Russia still operates a few reactors of the sort that failed at Chernobyl (and will continue to do so, for at least a decade). China is notorious for its disregard for human health. And the US has a number of oversight issues (and NIMBY politics) hampering the safety of its reactors. A "global consensus" isn't going to be the best practices possible, but rather an ugly compromise.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870111)

Russia still operates a few reactors of the sort that failed at Chernobyl

There is a reason none of those ever caused another incident, ever seen a documentary about Chernobyl? I still can't imagine what the operators thought when they disabled half the safeties to see if continued operation was safe - followed by a shift change and some quite bad communications problems caused by two separate control rooms independently doing damage control.

Chernobyl was safe during normal operation and I really hope that the remaining reactors of that type have a strict "don't turn the safeties of" policy

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

doom (14564) | about a year ago | (#43872733)

I know what you mean, and you can say similar things about Three Mile Island-- once the operators learn that, no, you really shouldn't over-ride those alerts, the problem goes away... and indeed there's an identical reactor at the same site that's been running fine ever since then.

But the design in use at Chernobyl was genuinely stupid by western standards-- I mean, no containment building! Come on, it's just a bunch of thick reinforced concrete, it's not exactly high tech.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870631)

Why do you consider that a worse approach? There's never been a safety or engineering justification for a "all-stopped-and-deep-check" approach. Magnitude 9 earthquakes don't happen all the time and that was a fundamental cause of the Fukushima accident.

But they do happen, so you still need to plan for them...

Actually the earthquake didn't cause any problems for the site, it was the tsunami going over the wall. Simply building a much higher wall would have been sufficient to prevent the site flooding, which would have meant the generators wouldn't have flooded and so the reactors would not have overheated. All that's needed is to work out the size of wall correctly this time, then add a decent margin of error. And make sure the backup/redundancy systems are better this time (which they will be on a design that's not 60 years old) so that if the generators fail it isn't such a problem. It was an old end-of-life design and the newer ones are far safer.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

trum4n (982031) | about a year ago | (#43870991)

The tsunami was caused by the earthquake. Root cause = earthquake.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year ago | (#43872545)

Let us see. Tsunami can be a major disaster also from smaller earthquakes - it all depends how the earth moves and where, so your argument that this strength of a quake only shall be considered for risk assessment is false.

While we talk the risk assessment that you mentioned in your earlier post - the probability of an event is not the only factor unless your risk assessment is politically motivated BS. You consider impact of an event too as well as other things like feasibility&costs of protective/preventive measures as well as clean up costs (i.e. what if scenario) etc.

TEPCO was once one of the biggest companies on our planet and the potential clean up costs almost broke its 'neck'. The clean up costs that TEPCO is facing is a concern to any nuclear facility. BTW: you already figured out what to do with all the polluted cooling water there in Fukushima? It seem the best way is to let it mix into Pacific ocean. I do not care as it is far away. I guess if it happened in France I would. All this go into risk analysis.I guess you know all this but it would disturb your argument would it?

Quite frankly I think that we have almost no other way as to use nuclear power as much as I hate the possibility. It would be good if we went into it with facts instead of BS. These would include: plans for evacuation in potentially affected areas if an accident indeed happens. You cannot argue this was low probability when it really happens or? IIRC the only way mining companies in USA would take care of removing of negative impacts (poisonous sediments and such) was to get money from them upfront so that in case they dissolve after all the profit is gone then there is something to fund the recovery actions. I guess the same should be done with nuclear industry. The insurance is a possibility but who would insure them now that they are so safe..... Another thing - waste - were is all the waste to go. I do not care if this is just stupid people that do not want to have nuclear waste dump around the house or there is in fact a good reason why we have a problem there but the waste does not get taken away. If even Germans do not get this right who does? Or is Finland going to sell storage capacity in their underground storage facility?

Re:So, not a Tepco site (2)

doom (14564) | about a year ago | (#43872851)

Obvious point to learn from Fukushima: the emergency pumps need to be up above the flood line. One would hope that's easy enough to understand and fix, and one would hope they don't drag out the necessary changes for too long.

There's admittedly a harder problem to solve pointed at by Fukushima: how do you prevent "regulatory capture"? What can you do to make sure that watchdog agencies really watch? Needless to say this is a problem with every regulatory agency-- it's hard to see how we can deal without them, but overtime they tend to become neutralized and gradually become ineffective.

(I have trouble fathoming what you're getting at with this jazz about disposal of polluted cleaning water... nuclear accidents do indeed suck, because you get stuck releasing a certain amount of radioactives, and there's a chance they'll increase cancer rates, and you should do what you can to avoid all this, but if you want to pick something to stress out about I suggest you think a little more about coal burning. Those guys spew poison all the time as a matter of course, not just when there's been an accident.)

Please read relevant Wikipedia page. go on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43873723)

There's admittedly a harder problem to solve pointed at by Fukushima: how do you prevent "regulatory capture"?

Exactly!!

Forget about Fukushima, have you read the Wikipedia page (yes, I know.. secondary literature) about the aftermath of the Monju reactor sodium leak [wikipedia.org] that this Slashdot article is actually about?
(Bonus brilliant avant-garde Youtube video [youtube.com], better than Blair Witch Project; I suspect that's all sodium hydroxide that you see, but luckily the secondary cooling stuff so it's not radioactive as well)

It doesn't inspire confidence in the management of nuclear power plants. Forget the technical safeties; with management from hell such as Monju, that all would have been written of as "too expensive, and if you talk to a journalist you're fired".
Either that, or they've hired Homer Simpson; I can't think of any other causes of this.

Re:Please read relevant Wikipedia page. go on! (1)

doom (14564) | about a year ago | (#43873927)

It doesn't inspire confidence in the management of nuclear power plants

True. You need some independant measure, like say, industry-wide stats showing a low rate of death-per-kilowatt compared to competing power sources.

If only such stats were readily available, then we might be able to make an informed judgement about nuclear power.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year ago | (#43874435)

Well I donno but it seems there is a problem with storage of contaminated water and this is not being dealt with. I would not know but it was in the news few weeks back as TEPCO I think found out that some of the water already liked into the ocean. There are different articles about this in variously trustworthy media you can have a look here [fukushima-diary.com] or here (nice picture of the tanks with polluted water that I meant) [nytimes.com]

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

Fierlo (842860) | about a year ago | (#43880493)

Preventing regulatory capture is pretty simple in theory. You give the regulator real power, complete independence, and almost more importantly, money. Doesn't really matter where the money comes from. I would think in most countries, the utilities pay a large portion of the fees. If a certain site requires more oversight, the utility is obligated to pay for it.

However, the real reason for requiring the regulator to have enough money is to ensure that they can hire higher-end technical experts to really challenge the utilities.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43884193)

However, the real reason for requiring the regulator to have enough money is to ensure that they can hire higher-end technical experts to really challenge the utilities.

Where do these higher-end technical experts come from? In the case of nuclear power, they come from the industry and/or the military. No one else has experience running nuclear reactors.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43884175)

There's admittedly a harder problem to solve pointed at by Fukushima: how do you prevent "regulatory capture"?

I see no indication that this harder problem was "pointed at" by Fukushima. I noticed that a lot of people want to shoehorn the Fukushima accident into the usual narratives. I do as well though my narratives tend to be unpopular.

Why should we be blaming regulatory capture here? What should have been done, that wasn't done because of regulatory capture?

I rather blame the sluggishness of large bureaucracies and the fact that the Fukushima reactors were near obsolescence. Bureaucracies don't turn on a dime. Just because evidence was out there that the standards for tsunami protection were inadequate doesn't mean that sea walls instantly grow higher or generators get moved off of a lower floor. There's a lot of decision making and paper shuffling that has to happen before one can even begin to address such a problem.

Moving on, the Fukushima reactors were near the end of their operating lifespan (one reactor had originally been scheduled to start the decommissioning process that very month). Where's the case to be made that we should do all this expensive refitting for a plant that'll only be operating for a few more months to years?

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43884071)

Let us see. Tsunami can be a major disaster also from smaller earthquakes

Those require special conditions, such as the earthquake triggering a nearby landslide. Something has to provide the energy and direct that energy against the nuclear plant. At that point, the solution is to not put nuclear plants in particularly dangerous locations which can suffer tsunami beyond any practical height for a barrier.

These would include: plans for evacuation in potentially affected areas if an accident indeed happens.

Already have those plans. One could see them in action with the response to the Fukushima accident.

Another thing - waste - were is all the waste to go.

Recycle it. Then bury what isn't practical to recycle.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43872491)

But they do happen, so you still need to plan for them...

You don't need to halt reactors in order to plan. A number of reactors weren't harmed and were in working condition. There was no reason to stop operating them for a year.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43871213)

There's no safety reason to slow down the restarting of well maintained nuclear reactors

That's where you would be wrong. It has been discovered that Fukushima was damaged by the quake and the damage contributed to the problems they had cooling the reactors in the aftermath. We have learned a little about how large quakes affect nuclear plants. They don't happen that often so much of the theory is just that - theoretical. Now we have some actual data to work with it has become apparent that many plants are vulnerable in ways we didn't anticipate before.

As a result there are new rules and things which previously were not considered safety critical or in need of regular checks now are. This is where this issue stems from and the reason why it is taking a long time to get things re-started. Checks had to be thought up to counter the new problems that were discovered, then tested out and finally rolled out with monitoring of compliance.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

doom (14564) | about a year ago | (#43872513)

There's no safety reason to slow down the restarting of well maintained nuclear reactors

That's where you would be wrong.

Possibly he might be, but you haven't proven the case. Rolling out new safety checks sounds good, but it's hardly impossible to do that while a reactor is in operation. Even if there's a need for new equipment, you could shut down and install it later.

Seriously, the anti-nuclear side in these debates always seems to feed and feed off of hysteria, in much the same way the national security state gets a boost from terrorist attacks.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43872573)

That's where you would be wrong. It has been discovered that Fukushima was damaged by the quake and the damage contributed to the problems they had cooling the reactors in the aftermath.

There were several reactors affected by the earthquake. Sure, keep them offline until they've been inspected. The problem here is that all of the reactors were taken offline, including the ones not affected by the earthquake. Planning and inspection of Fukushima is not in any way hindered by those other reactors resuming operation.

As a result there are new rules and things which previously were not considered safety critical or in need of regular checks now are. This is where this issue stems from and the reason why it is taking a long time to get things re-started. Checks had to be thought up to counter the new problems that were discovered, then tested out and finally rolled out with monitoring of compliance.

You don't need reactors off line in order to decide on and implement these policies. Plus, nuclear reactors are naturally taken off line for refueling and maintenance. Any safety upgrades on the reactor itself can be implemented then.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880273)

Given that only one "F-event" has happened in the history of nuclear power

Given that Nuclear power has only been around like 60 years while other sources of power like coal have been around over 300 Nuclear still has plenty of time to catch up in accidents.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43884217)

Given that Nuclear power has only been around like 60 years while other sources of power like coal have been around over 300 Nuclear still has plenty of time to catch up in accidents.

The point is that it hasn't started to. 60 years is enough time to evaluate the frequency of serious accidents and devise counters to those problems as they appear.

Re:So, not a Tepco site (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43870043)

This is one of the globalization problem

Not really, the same problem has existed since the first caveman took a dump upstream from his neighbors cave.

Ownership != Operatership (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | about a year ago | (#43869367)

I'm starting to think the people who own nuclear plants shouldn't be the same people who operate them, at least in Japan.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (2)

sidevans (66118) | about a year ago | (#43869453)

I'm starting to think the people who own nuclear plants shouldn't be the same people who operate them, at least in Japan.

You're tripping mate. Its not like USA and Russia haven't had their own fair share of nuclear fuck ups.

I think Japan, who have been bombed twice and recently had a plant explode, are more educated and informed than most countries, when it comes to the dangers of nuclear power.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | about a year ago | (#43869517)

Canada did the same BS with chalk river. The plant didn't have redundant cooling so the government fired managers until they got someone willing to run it. The GPs idea doesn't fix anything. Ideally, they should be running designs that can't function in an unsafe condition or fail safe.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (1)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | about a year ago | (#43871967)

Chalk River was a completely different scenario.

First the reactor had two sets of redundant cooling, but one of the sets was not earthquake resistant. Secondly the government didn't fire any plant managers, they fired the head of the nuclear safety commission, Linda Keen.

The nuclear power plant didn't produce nuclear power, it produces a huge portion of the worlds medical isotopes [wikipedia.org]: Cobalt-60 (75% of global supply), Technetium-99m (80%), etc . Many of isotopes have a very short half-life so it is impossible to stockpile them. The risk of planet failure was real and it could have killed people. But shutting down the plant would mean running out of these medical isotopes which would result in many deaths.

Taking the balance of low risk (due to only one of a several safety features being disabled) versus unavoidable deaths the parliament on the advice of industry (both nuclear and medical) experts passed a law allowing a one-time short-term (120 day) exception to normal nuclear safety practices and ordered the reactor restarted.

The nuclear safety CEO Linda Keen, *ignored* the order issued by parliament (ie. she broke the law) so they fired her as CEO (but she is still a member of the commission).

Re:Ownership != Operatership (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869537)

I used to (keyword: used to) work in the nuclear industry. Rumors I have heard was that Japan plants were very quick to fix equipment that broke. When something broke(Safety Related* or not) they had technicians out looking at it in very short order(within a week). At the plants I've been at and heard about here in the USA when stuff breaks if its not deemed "important" or Safety Related* it may be put off for months or years due to strict schedules, not enough work hours and insufficient technicians on staff, etc. It's not uncommon to see equipment that has been broken for more than 3 years, and INPO doesn't start hounding you until it's been more than 4 years. The NRC doesn't really care about anything that isn't classified as Safety Related* so they don't care how long it takes to fix it. Of course, the rumors of how Japan does business could be wrong as I've never actually toured or met someone that worked at one.

And the best part is you can easily get that clock restarted. If you think a switch is broken and then later find out its something else, you simply close that work order and open a new work order on the correct part. New work order = new date for when the job was created. So now that thing that's been broken for 4 years could be 8 years. And guess what.. what if it isn't that either? *Poof*... 12 years to fix something. And I guarantee you if its a job that needs parts that are VERY expensive, require alot of man-hours to perform, or requires alot of dose for the technicians doing the job, it'll be put off as long as someone can come up with an excuse to push the work date back.

Don't get me wrong, I consider nuclear power plants in the USA to be very safe, but when you stop and think "gee.. this has been broken since 2010 and we STILL haven't fixed it or even solidly troubleshot the issue to a particular piece of equipment?" you start questioning where the priorities are and what could be going on process-wise behind the scenes that nobody has noticed. I know that if something starts having problems with my car I preemptively fix it, even if its not something related to my own safety(like my brakes). Some parts in the nuclear industry are quite expensive(think 5, 6 figures or more) but are pennies on the dollar when you look at the amount of money the stations make per day. If they have an expected lifespan of only 5 years you can effectively get "something for nothing" just by not fixing it for a while. Those 3 parts that should have lasted you 15 years combined now can last over 20 if you wait 2 years between each fix. Suddenly you saved yourself big money in the long run. There's some hidden cost savings for the shareholders and its not like the company is going to come out and admit to how much money they saved just by not fixing stuff for a while. The general public would probably have a big cow if they knew the truth.

* - Safety Related is a classification for equipment that is deemed necessary for a safe shutdown, sufficient cooling and control of the reactor during accident conditions.

Posting for obvious reasons...I might want to work in the industry again someday. It is good money, a very reliable job and I know I'll be working with some of the smartest people I'll ever meet. Hopefully it won't get drowned out with all the other BS AC comments.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year ago | (#43869683)

On the other hand, my understanding is that the problem which caused the hydrogen explosions at Fukashima I had been anticipated in the USA and all relevant plants were retrofitted to be able to safely vent hydrogen. Despite this being a known problem, the Japanese plants were not.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#43870167)

The hydrogen explosions aren't the issue. You're venting to atmosphere or flaring, or you're putting it in a building and causing it to explode, the only thing the people will here is OMG radiation got out!

The problem is not the hydrogen explosion, the problem is that it got that far to begin with.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (3, Insightful)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#43870755)

The Fukushima Daiichi reactors were in fact fitted with venting apparatus -- if you look at pictures of the site you'll see large white vertical pipes standing beside the reactor buildings, braced with girders to cope with earthquakes. The problem is that if the vents are used they can (and probably will) release radioactivity as well as hydrogen gas since at that point in time the fuel elements in the reactors will have suffered heat damage.

I've heard claims that the decision to not vent the gas buildup was taken by politicians in the Japanese government since they didn't want to be responsible for deliberately releasing radioactive contamination across parts of Japan. Whether that is true or not venting would have released much less radioactivity than the explosions did.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43873889)

...anticipated in the USA and all relevant plants were retrofitted to be able to safely vent hydrogen

Until some cow in a moo-moo working from home due to government obesity subsidies realizes that he can triple his productivity by typing simply "Y" instead of "YES" when prompted to "VENT HYDROGEN GAS", then replaces his finger with a plastic "drinking bird" toy so that he can take off for a while

Full Throttle Baloney. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869709)

You've never set foot in a nuclear power plant. Now get back to your real job, sonny, those burgers aren't going to flip themselves!

Re:Ownership != Operatership (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869841)

Sounds like bullshit, all the plants I've worked at have plenty of niggers on hand and the good thing is you don't have to worry about radiation protection because nobody gives a fuck about them.

Re:Ownership != Operatership (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43869875)

It's human nature. We can't seem to create organizations capable of running these things properly.

Re: Ownership != Operatership (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870131)

>The regulators acted after finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment

You are (an anonymous) mouth breathing retard... No need to write pages when you got the first thing wrong...

Re:Ownership != Operatership (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year ago | (#43872645)

this costs/profit structure poses interesting dilemma to any supervision authority. Huge profits every year and if something happens like it did in Fukushima gov simply jumps in and pays. The worse that can happen the company is broke and administrators take over. Perfect or?This looks to me like privatization of profits and nationalization of costs. The best way it seems would be mandatory insurance but who is silly enough?

Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not let (4, Interesting)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year ago | (#43869553)

Firstly its an experimental facility that has not been run up yet, even for testing, and they are currently considering not testing it soon..

Secondly the decision is based on a re-evaluation of Japans actual need for a fast breeder immediately, and due to overspends by its
contractors.

It is quite amazing how hard the anti-nuclear lobby will work to smokescreen any news as a near disaster and try and scare
us all away with the nuclear apocalypse bogeyman..

Japans economy is in recession, their energy needs are falling, they are cutting back on spending that is currently not required.
Any real news here?

Re:Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | about a year ago | (#43869619)

The regulators acted after finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment

You don't consider that news?
imo nuclear can be safe. It's people that can't be trusted.

Re: Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (1)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year ago | (#43869763)

Because digging deeper it appears to be either completely false, or a horrific mis-translation, or most
likely comletely made up.

The best I can find out, the facts are that the contractor wanted to be paid for another round of checking
of everything, at a large cost, which the govt. was not willing to fund as there is little demand for the startup
of the station now anyway, so why prepare to start up something thats being mothballed anyway.
The only real news here seems to be a governement actually willing to cut back a bit of pork and wait until the
may, some time in the future, actually need to continue with the station.

So, you consider that news?

Re: Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | about a year ago | (#43870537)

Where did you read that? All the articles I've read say the same thing :One link [nhk.or.jp]:

The regulators acted after finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment. The Nuclear Regulation Authority requested that Japan's science ministry urge the operator to comply.

If you read anything different, a link would be appreciated.

Re:Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (0, Flamebait)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#43869839)

try and scare us all away with the nuclear apocalypse bogeyman

He's 20km's wide, lives in the former Fukushima powerplant, explodes when you expose him to oxygen and pisses unmeasurable amounts of radiation into the ocean. But I'm not afraid, we're going fishing this weekend.

Re:Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#43870185)

The Monju fast-breeder has been a white elephant for a long time. Sodium leaks/fires (a perennial problem with fast reactors around the world) and general poor operational practices have meant it has spent most of its life sitting idle getting reworked or repaired.

Re:Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43871253)

It is quite amazing how hard the anti-nuclear lobby will work to smokescreen any news as a near disaster and try and scare
us all away with the nuclear apocalypse bogeyman..

It's quite amazing how the pro-nuclear lobby will always trot out their favourite old straw man in every debate. If you read the summary or even TFA you would have noticed that it clearly does not call this a disaster or do any scaremongering. Either you are deliberately trying to use this straw man to stir up rage or you are so paranoid that you read every story about nuclear that isn't 100% positive as some kind of foaming at the mouth attack.

Japans economy is in recession, their energy needs are falling, they are cutting back on spending that is currently not required.

Well, two out of three ain't bad. Their energy needs are falling, but that is because of the drive to make things more efficient. LED lighting is everywhere and it's normal to see corridors or elevators unlit until you approach them, and consumers consider efficiency to be a major selling point when buying appliances. Renewable energy is also booming.

As for spending the current plan is to spend more to power out of recession, similar to what the US did and what Europe is now trying. Cutting back doesn't work, as the Japanese well know from their lost decade, but it still takes quite a bit of political will to acknowledge that you have reached a point where spending in the face of a big deficit is the right thing to do.

Re:Not a restart, Not a safety decision, lets not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43873911)

>their energy needs are falling.

Of course, you say that now. However, when arguing that Japan should restart all its nuclear plants, I am sure you make the opposite claim . . .

Intellectual bankrupt crackpots suck, regardless of which side of the debate they are on . . .

About time (2)

rtega (1651059) | about a year ago | (#43869637)

This was about time. This decision was about 30 years overdue. Just a selection from the wiki article:
  1. accident in December 1995, in which a sodium leak caused a major fire, forced a shutdown.
  2. On August 26, 2010, a 3.3-tonne "InVessel Transfer Machine" fell into the reactor vessel when being removed after a scheduled fuel replacement operation.
  3. 16 February 2012 NISA reported that a sodium-detector malfunctioned
  4. 30 April 2013 an operating error rendered two of the three emergency reactors unusable. During the monthly testing of the emergency diesel generators, staff forgot to close six of the twelve valves they had opened before testing, releasing thick black smoke
  5. On 5 March 2012 a group of seismic researchers revealed the possibility of a 7.4M (or even more potent) earthquake under the Tsuruga Nuclear Powerplant. (the fault runs about 250 meters from the reactor building...)

Do they need any more reasons to close this thing? It seems a bunch of children is running this sodium cooled thing that has reached criticality for a very short duration in is operational life time.

Kinda sad... (1, Insightful)

xenobyte (446878) | about a year ago | (#43869703)

But nuclear power (fission) is the only truly sustainable energy source for the future given the alternatives of today.

Fossil fuels are out due to their CO2 footprint.

Solar and wind are useful supplements but too unreliable to stand alone and still with far too low yield to provide enough power per installation. To supply power to everything world-wide 24/7 with room to grow (triple most likely) would require insane amounts of windmills and square miles of solar arrays which would affect both land for food crops, cause massive noise pollution and seriously damage the recreational value of nature as there would have to be billions of windmills absolutely everywhere. So many mills would most likely also cause massive disruptions in weather patterns. Solar panels also still require rare metals that is in very short supply.

Everything else is not suitable for large scale use.

If fusion ever gets out from the labs and into the commercial market it would be the market changer as it requires basically water to run and has no waste problem. The radioactive He produced can simply be released into the atmosphere where it would rise until cosmic radiation would cause it to decay into harmless isotopes.

Re:Kinda sad... (0)

ashkante (1714490) | about a year ago | (#43869837)

Personally, I wouldn't bet on anything but fusion (when/if it is perfected.)

I have read studies that say we have enough nuclear fuel for the next 2000 years (or at least 300-500, if demands increase faster than predicted).
Then again, there are studies that say we could be out of easily accessible ore by the next century.

Examples:
Nuclear power is not sustainable [hubbertpeak.com]
Nuclear power is sustainable [blogspot.com]

Is it a good idea to switch over to 100% nuclear, if there is any doubt that it will last beyond 2100s?

Asteroid mining could potentially solve this (IMO), or maybe just skip nuclear and invest in fusion more.

Anyway, my $0.02

Re:Kinda sad... (1, Interesting)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#43869933)

I really don't understand this belief that fusion will be a panacea.

Yes, I'm excited about the prospect of commercial energy positive fusion plants, but that's as much because I love the idea of fusion drives for spaceships with easy refueling as anything else.

Fusion still produces radiation, it still contaminates the primary containment vessel, and it will probably contaminate the primary heat transfer loop's working fluid as well. The big thing is that when you hit the scram button, it should stop almost instantly. On the other hand, fusion plants will have hydrogen storage out the wazoo. If I'm remembering right, a hydrogen explosion was a big part of Fukushima. So, no Uranium or Plutonium, but you still have explosive gas, and radioactive steam. Also don't forget that when the plant closes from age it's still radioactive. So it'll cost just as much to dismantle as a regular fission plant.

Re:Kinda sad... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43870287)

the real point is that the pollution is highly local and contained and not all over the atmosphere..

Re:Kinda sad... (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about a year ago | (#43870309)

Why would fusion plants need "hydrogen storage out of the wazoo"? The amount of hydrogen involved is pretty small, isn't it? A 1 GW (i.e. moderately large) fusion power plant would need less than 10 grams of hydrogen per hour according to my back of the envelope calculation (assuming 40% efficiency (and a 1% rest mass fusion yield) - I don't know how efficient a real plant would be). So I don't see why they would need to store such large amounts of hydrogen.

Re:Kinda sad... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43873459)

it still contaminates the primary containment vessel

Yes, and that's the worst of it, and it's basically copper that's going to be slightly radioactive for 60 years.

The best we can do with the existing nuclear fuel waste is 300 years, and the current nuclear waste is 300,000 years.

BTW, it's "environmentalists" who are blocking the conversion of the 300,000 year waste into 300 year waste, a process that will safely power the globe for a century. c.f. integral fast reactors

Re:Kinda sad... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#43874017)

Solar and wind are useful supplements but too unreliable to stand alone

I don't know how it is at your side of the planet, but here you can set your watch at the time the sun gets up. The sun has never let us down so far. I sincerely cannot see why we should have power 24/7 * 3, given the fact that we literally are burning an unsustainably large part of our planet as we speak. But especially with solar energy, there is more than enough room if we all put our sunboilers and solar panels on our houses and just share the excess. The main problem here is off course that the electricity companies have to give up their monopoly. But you can so much with the sun it is almost a crime not to use it.

There are also many things you can do with wind. Many high-power jobs do not need to be done 24/7, so you could build an "unreliable" grid that only gives power when there is wind. You'd be surprised what you can do with it!

"10000 pieces of equipment" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869789)

A couple of boxes with nuts and bolts perhaps? Yes, nuclear regulations are that pedantic.

Anyhow, should they manage to find the missing kit, they'll be allowed to restart the stopped restart prepations. They must really love their jobs, eh.

Re:"10000 pieces of equipment" (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43870615)

They were probably just late having their d'Arsenval meter movements calibrated to 0.1% accuracy.

The real danger... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869865)

in operating a breeder reactor is of course... you end up with a bunch more little reactors later. A fast-breeder reactor... jeez, you end up with more than you can shake a uranium fuel rod at before you know it! And if someone's playing anything by Barry White nearby... forget it!

Nothing but problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870275)

This DISASTEROUS experimental reactor
1. uses DANGEROUS liquid sodium as coolant - HIGHLY FLAMMABLE(easily become explosive) with either air or water contact
    1.1 when "In-vessel transfer machine"(which inserts/remove nuclear fuel into main reactor vessel) malfuncted and stuck in vessel, it took nearly 10 month and 24 tries to fix that(couldn't just open up and fix - sodium coolant exposed and explode), and made one man in charge of commit suicide.
2. uses PLUTONIUM fuel - EXTREMELY HAZADROUS for human health with/without considering radioactive property
3. recently discovered to be located at fault(seismically unstable, earthquake-prone) zone.
4. when 1+2+3 goes really bad, Some estimates danger zone of hundreds of km radii - FAR DWARFING FUKUSHIMA ACCIDENT - and resulting radioactives including plutonium would disperse even to US MAINLAND.
5. took 20 BILLION YEN per year even when not running/malfunctioned to keep sodium hot enough to make it liquid state.

WTF!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43872257)

"finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment"

You do not MISS checkups on that much hardware, you DECIDE not to maintain it...

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