Nuclear Regulators Keep Ban On Monju Reactor

Nuclear regulators keep ban on Monju reactorJapan's nuclear regulator has dismissed a plea to lift its order banning the operation of an experimental reactor in Fukui Prefecture.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority in 2013 ordered the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which operates the prototype Monju fast breeder reactor, to keep it offline.

The order came after the operator was found to have failed to inspect about 10,000 items at the plant.

On Thursday, officials of the operator asked the authority to lift the order, saying they had improved situations that constituted violations of safety provisions.

The officials said they had completed maintenance of all relevant devices by April, and reviewed maintenance methods based on each one's importance.

They also said they plan to upgrade checking systems by using information technology to decrease errors.

But the authority expressed doubt, saying another maintenance irregularity was found at the plant this month.

The authority recommended last November that the reactor's operator be replaced.

But discussions on a successor have not been concluded, and it is unknown when the reactor will be allowed to resume operation.