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May 19th, 2017
Japan Atomic Energy Agency

Launching cooperation with Poland and the United Kingdom concerning the High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) technologies
- Toward international deployment and standardization of Japan’s HTGR technologies -

[Point of this news]

  • Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) in the Republic of Poland concluded a memorandum of cooperation in the field of HTGR technologies such as design, irradiation effect on fuel and materials, etc. Poland started cooperation with JAEA to facilitate HTGR development.
  • JAEA and URENCO in the UK concluded a memorandum of cooperation in the field of HTGR technologies such as design, materials, safety evaluation, etc.
  • JAEA promotes international demonstration of Japanese HTGR technologies established through construction of the High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) and promotes the international deployment and standardization.

Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA, President: Toshio Kodama) and National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) in the Republic of Poland concluded a memorandum of cooperation in the field of HTGR technologies on May 18th, 2017. JAEA and URENCO in the UK concluded a memorandum of cooperation in the field of HTGR technologies on May 18th, 2017.

In Poland, construction of a practical HTGR (200-350 MW thermal) with heat supply to industries and a research HTGR (10 MW thermal) is being considered. The cooperation concerning R&Ds on HTGR technologies between JAEA and NCBJ will be carried out based on the ‘Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategic Partnership between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Poland for the years 2017-2020’ signed in Japan-Poland Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on May 19th, 2017. JAEA promotes cooperation with NCBJ in the field of HTGR technologies such as design, irradiation effect on fuel and materials, etc. for the deployment of the world cutting-edge Japanese HTGR technologies to Poland. Considering that NCBJ cooperates with URENCO, JAEA promotes cooperation with URENCO in the field of HTGR technologies such as design, materials, safety evaluation, etc. In the event that NCBJ introduces a research HTGR from URENCO, the Japanese HTGR technologies are expected to be used in the research reactor.

The industry, academia and government council in Japan has underscored the importance of international cooperation. Based on this international cooperation, JAEA promotes international demonstration of Japanese HTGR technologies established by construction of the High Temperature engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) and promotes international deployment and standardization of the technologies. JAEA utilizes the international cooperation to facilitate domestic R&Ds for early practical realization of HTGRs.

[Background]

R&D concerning the HTGR is widely carried out in the world, since HTGR can provide heat higher than 900oC to non-electric applications such as hydrogen production systems, etc.

In China, HTGR development as one of the ”National Important Special Projects” was selected in 2006, and a demonstration pebble-bed HTGR - HTR-PM with a thermal power of 250 MW x 2 reactors and a reactor outlet coolant temperature of 750oC - for power generation with steam turbines is under construction with a commercial operation target of 2018. The graphite used in HTR-PM is made by TOYO TANSO in Japan being the same graphite used in HTTR. The Japanese technology has been deployed in overseas.

Poland, UK, EU Industrial Initiative, US NGNP industry alliance, etc. are carrying out investigation for the development of prismatic block HTGR similar to the HTTR of JAEA. Poland has the development project of HTGR (thermal power 200-350 MW) for heat supply to industries aiming at operation in early 2030’s. In parallel, Poland considers to deploy a research HTGR (thermal power 10 MW) to NCBJ with the aim of operation in late 2020’s.

In the UK, an HTGR alliance has been formed, led by URENCO, and a modular practical HTGR project, U-Battery, has been initiated. U-Battery is a prismatic block HTGR with a thermal power of 10 MW and reactor outlet coolant temperature of 750oC, aiming to operate a demonstration reactor in 2024.

NCBJ has concluded a cooperation agreement with URENCO on small HTGRs, and U-Battery is a strong candidate of the research HTGR to be built in NCBJ. If the small HTGR with 10 MW from URENCO is built in NCBJ, Japanese HTGR technologies are expected to be used in Poland through the cooperation between JAEA and URENCO.

In EU, aiming to develop cogeneration HTGR system, NC2I (Nuclear Cogeneration Industrial Initiative) was formed by EU industries, and researches such as heat market survey, end user research, economic evaluation, assessment of technical issues, safety, licensing, etc. are being conducted. In the US, the NGNP industry alliance, which promotes NGNP (Next Generation Nuclear Plant) project with the government, is preparing to form an international framework (PRIME project) for development of demonstration prismatic block HTGR.

Japanese HTGR technologies can achieve a reactor outlet coolant temperature of 950oC and are leading the world in the technologies including the water-splitting hydrogen production technology.

In this situation, by starting cooperation with Poland to actively promote HTGR development and with the HTGR project in UK, JAEA promotes international demonstration, deployment and standardization of Japanese HTGR technologies. JAEA utilizes the international cooperation, such as development of HTGR material property evaluation method by simulation, to facilitate domestic R&Ds.

[Contents of cooperation]

  1. with Poland

    JAEA and NCBJ will cooperate in the following areas including personnel exchange:

    (1) Evaluation on irradiation properties about fuel and materials, development of material property simulation methods:
    Collaboration about irradiation tests for graphite and coated fuel particles, irradiation property evaluation by Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics methods.

    (2) Design of HTGR to provide process heat in Poland:
    Collaboration on design of HTGR-heat utilization systems from operating experience of HTTR and hydrogen production system and design of practical HTGR.

    (3) Research on HTGR market and high temperature technologies to industries:
    Collaboration to evaluate market demands of HTGR and high temperature technologies in Poland and other EU countries, and international deployment of the HTGR system and component technologies.

  2. with UK

    JAEA and URENCO will cooperate in the following areas including personnel exchange:

    (1) HTGR technologies toward early practical use of small HTGRs:
    Collaboration on nuclear thermal design (heat transfer, thermal-hydraulic analysis, optimal criticality analysis, burn up analysis, plant dynamic analysis, etc.), safety design(safety tolerance, uncertainty evaluation, etc.), fuel and materials technologies(material characteristics evaluation, fuel production technologies, irradiation property evaluation, etc.) and coolant impurity management technologies(permissible impurity concentration, control technology), etc.

    (2) Investigation to reduce construction risks and to improve economy:
    Cooperation based on operation experience of HTTR and hydrogen production system

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