Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (MITI) has unveiled plans to build a new fast breeder reactor by 2025 as part of a draft long-term nuclear energy strategy. The new programme accelerates an existing programme by five years.

The proposals would see a project to replace the ill-fated Monju prototype reactor in a bid to establish a nuclear fuel cycle based on the technology. Located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, and owned by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), operations at Monju were suspended in the wake of a sodium leak in 1995. The government now hopes to resume test operations during 2008.

MITI is expected to form a consortium with manufacturers, power companies and the JAEA in autumn to study how to promote the technology. Japan hopes to see commercial fast breeder technology in place by 2050.