Asia

Japan decides to scrap 'Monju' fast-breeder nuclear reactor

Japan has decided to shut down an experimental fast-breeder nuclear reactor that drained government finances for years without living up to hopes it would be a savior for the resource-poor country's energy needs.

Government ministers decided Wednesday to scrap the trouble-plagued "Monju" reactor. It has cost Japan about 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) while operating only 250 days since it started up 22 years ago.

The so-called "dream reactor" was designed to burn a plutonium-uranium mix, while producing more plutonium in the process that could be converted into more nuclear fuel.

It costs 20 billion yen a year to maintain Monju, and would have required costly upgrades to meet new safety standards introduced after meltdowns at a nuclear plant in Fukushima that was flooded by a tsunami in 2011.