Japan’s Monju fast-breeder reactor resumed operations Thursday after 14 years and five months of suspension due to a sodium coolant leak and a resultant fire.
The prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, restarted at 10:36 a.m. after plant staff pulled out rods that had prevented nuclear reaction.
The reactor, operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, is expected to reach criticality, or the point when a nuclear chain reaction becomes self-sustaining, on Saturday.
The reactor is then to gradually raise its power output and begin full-fledged operations in the spring of 2013.
Unlike regular light-water reactors that run on uranium, a fast- breeder reactor uses an oxide mix of plutonium and uranium and is designed to generate more plutonium than it burns.
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