Monday evening’s Yomiuri reported on its recent finding that METI is studying the idea of Japan’s participation in a U.S. project to develop a fast reactor. The reactor, which is expected to go into operation as early as 2026, will be the world’s most advanced experimental reactor. The paper speculated that Japan’s participation is intended to strengthen the U.S.-Japan nuclear cooperation agreement. Noting that a fast reactor is a high-performance reactor capable of efficiently using nuclear materials such as plutonium in addition to the uranium used by a conventional reactor, the paper wrote that the Japanese government regards a fast reactor as a central feature in the nuclear fuel cycle. The U.S. experimental fast breeder reactor is a sodium-cooled and versatile test reactor (VTR) that is expected to be designed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a joint venture between General Electric and Hitachi. The paper added that since the GOJ decided to decommission the Monju fast breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture in 2016, it has regarded the French demonstration reactor Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) as a pillar of fast reactor development. However, since the French government is reviewing the ASTRID project, the paper conjectured that Tokyo is planning to deepen its relations with the United States.
The daily carried an update this morning, adding that the GOJ is likely to exchange memorandums on this partnership with the USG in the near future.