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Japan's nuclear recycling policy runs aground

End of fast reactor project and uranium glut raise doubts over fuel reprocessing

The Japanese government decided in 2016 to shut down the Monju fast breeder reactor in western Japan for good, following a string of financial and technical problems.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Supplies of uranium, used to fire nuclear power plants, are becoming increasingly plentiful globally, threatening to make redundant Japan's long-standing policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel.

A pillar of the policy is a joint project with France to develop a fast reactor, which generates electricity using spent nuclear fuel. But The French government recently informed Tokyo of plans to freeze the project amid rising uranium reserves. The surprise move has brought Japan's nuclear fuel cycle policy to a standstill.

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