Cavendish Nuclear Lands Monju Reactor Decommissioning Contract

British industry support company Cavendish Nuclear said in late August that it was pleased to announce a contract awarded by Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to supply technical support for the decommissioning of the fast breeder reactor at Monju, Japan.

Monju reactorThe contract allows Cavendish to make use of its experience decommissioning the same reactor type in Britain, noted the company, which is working on decommissioning at Dounreay in a tear-down project that is in the dismantling stage.

“The contract builds on experience decommissioning fast reactors in the UK,” the company said, which will enable it to pass on lessons learned and translate that into lower costs for the JAEA.

The 280 MWe reactor at Monju has run only briefly since it first began operations in 1994. After four months of operations, a secondary cooling system leaked about 700 kilograms of liquid sodium. Although the incident did not create any environmental contamination or result in any injuries, the reactor was shut down and not restarted until May 2010, at which point it was shut down that year after equipment fell into the reactor vessel during a refueling outage. The equipment was retrieved, according to Nuclear Engineering International, but regulators, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, did not allow for a restart. In December 2016, the government announced the reactor would be decommissioned. 

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