Less Money for Nuclear

Japan passes over nuclear power as it increases spending on scientific research.

Oct 3, 2011
Edyta Zielinska

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, PETR ADAMEK

Japan's 5.8 percent increase in spending for science, up to $14.7 billion, omits one of the country's big programs—a fast-breeder nuclear power plant, Japan's ministry of education announced Sunday (September 30).

The Monju reactor was designed to reduce imports of nuclear fuel that traditional power plants require but had some early failures that resulted in a coolant leak and fire in 1995, reported ScienceInsider. With the Fukushima disaster earlier this year, officials say they are holding off on a decision until "the long-term direction [of energy policy] is settled," Masaharu Nakagawa, Japan's education minister, said at a press briefing.

However, Japan is boosting funding by 50 percent for an international consortium that is building an experimental fusion reactor in France.  Other big funding increases include a 40 percent bump for stem cell research and 36 percent for space-related work.  Research overall will receive a 6 percent increase in funding.