Japan, U.S. Entities Consider Nuclear Cooperation
The Japanese Atomic Energy Agency and a Japanese manufacturing company have agreed with an American company to start talks on possible technical cooperation for a next-generation reactor project in the United States.
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and its subsidiary have signed a memorandum of understanding with the nuclear energy company TerraPower.
TerraPower seeks to develop fast reactors, which use sodium, instead of water, as a coolant. When generating electricity, reactors produce less radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel than conventional reactors.
TerraPower aims to start operating a fast reactor in the United States in 2028, with support from the United States Department of Energy.
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has two fast reactors in the country. One of them is the prototype Monju breeder reactor in Fukui prefecture, central Japan.
The reactor suffered a series of safety problems. It has only been online 250 days out of the 22 years since it began its functional test. The central government decided in 2016 to decommission the reactor, which had never been used commercially.
The atomic energy agency said it would discuss with TerraPower whether to use Monju technology for the development of fast reactors.
Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hagiuda Koichi, said earlier this month that the government currently has no plans to build fast reactors or other types of next-generation reactors. in the country.