Nuclear fuel cycle in need of alchemy amid waste disposal problems via Mainichi

“The life span of radioactive matter could be shortened from around 10,000 years to a few hundred!”

“The final disposal site (of radioactive materials) could be reduced to one-one hundredth of its planned size.”

The above quotations were included within documents outlining the technology for dramatically shortening the longevity of nuclear power’s residual waste, which were handed out by Akito Arima, 83 — former minister of education and University of Tokyo president — during an April 3 closed-door meeting among some 20 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers who support nuclear power.

The Monju fast-breeder reactor, which has served as the core of the nation’s nuclear fuel cycle, reuses plutonium as fuel after it has been extracted from spent nuclear fuel. Because this would produce more plutonium than was consumed, it was heralded as a “dream nuclear reactor.” A sodium leak, however, as well as a series of additional accidents and scandals, have meant that the actual operation of the reactor remains nowhere in sight.

“There is no such thing as impossibility when it comes to Japanese technology,” emphasized Arima — an authority in the field of nuclear physics — during the meeting.

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