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Plutonium-Fueled Reactor Restarts after Repairs

May 9, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan has resumed test operation of a nuclear reactor fueled by plutonium, officials said Tuesday.

The plant, which underwent repairs for 55 days, was to have begun supplying electricity by December. Because of the repairs it will not reach full capacity for another year, said Kazushige Kikuchi of the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation.

On Feb. 21, four days after technicians increased the reactor’s output, engineers found too much steam escaping.

Kikuchi said the 280,000-kilowatt reactor in the coastal town of Tsuruga, about 205 miles northeast of Tokyo, was restarted Monday and continued to run smoothly Tuesday.

Japan, which now relies on imported fuel for most of its energy, is a major proponent of plutonium-fueled fast-breeder reactors.

Several countries have dropped or cut back plans for the controversial reactors because of the hazards and high costs of using plutonium, a highly toxic substance that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

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