Asia

Japan official calls for scrapping of troubled Monju reactor

The head of the Japanese ruling party's policy council says the government should consider scrapping the problem-plagued Monju plutonium-breeder reactor.

Monju, designed to burn plutonium and produce more of it while generating electricity, was once considered a "dream reactor" for resource-poor Japan. But the 1 trillion yen ($9.8 billion) reactor has hardly operated since an accident in 1995, months after it went online. Improving its safety would require billions of dollars.

Toshimitsu Motegi, the Liberal Democratic Party's policy council chairman, said Tuesday the government should consider decommissioning the reactor.

Last November, Japan's nuclear authority urged the science ministry, which oversees Monju, to disqualify its operator over poor safety records or scrap the reactor.

There have been discussions on using Monju for other purposes, including experimenting with fuel waste reduction.