International cooperation

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Bilateral and multilateral collaboration

The High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGRs) are developed not only in Japan but also in several countries, such as the United States of America, Poland, the United Kingdom, China, Korea, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, etc. China has constructed a demonstration HTGR, and the United States of America, Poland, the United Kingdom (private company) and Indonesia have the construction plans of HTGRs. Korea is under investigation of the construction plan.

The International Joint Research precedes the collaborations with the following countries and organizations based on the accumulated experiences of the research, design, construction, operation and maintenance obtained through the HTTR development.

Bilateral and multilateral collaboration

(1)Poland

Japan and Poland governments signed "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 2021-2025". It stated to promote R&D cooperation in the field of HTGR between JAEA and National Center for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) of Poland, under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology, and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Poland, as appropriate. JAEA concluded an implementing arrangement of research collaboration with NCBJ and is currently going to start concrete collaboration.

(2)The United Kingdom

(i) Research collaboration with National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)

In order to support the governmental efforts concerning HTGR development, JAEA and NNL agreed to amend the existing technical cooperation arrangement between JAEA and NNL to add a new item of the HTGR technology fields. We cooperate to have an implementing arrangement to promote our concrete joint research projects as the next step.

(ii) Information exchange with Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

JAEA and ONR concluded the arrangement for the information exchange and cooperation in the safety of HTGR. Specific information to be exchanged with each other is identified and we will have information exchange on them.

(iii) Collaboration to U-Battery project

JAEA collaborates with URENCO for the early commercialization of the small modular HTGR, U-Battery, which is developed by U-Battery developments Ltd., subsidiary of URENCO.

(3)The United States of America

Simulation code development and so on are being progressed under the project arrangement based on the "Implementing Arrangement between the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Department of Energy of the United States of America Concerning Cooperation in the Field of Nuclear Energy-Related Research and Development".

(4)China, Korea and Indonesia

The collaboration on HTGR technologies with Tsinghua University of China, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and National Nuclear Energy Agency of Indonesia has been carried out.

(5)Kazakhstan

(i)Research, design and construction of Kazakhstan HTGR (KHTR)

The KHTR project is the plan to construct a small-sized HTGR with a reactor power of 50MW thermal for power generation and district heating in Kazakhstan, Kurchatov. JAEA collaborates based on their needs for realization of KHTR.

(ii)ISTC KZ-2514 regular project

Irradiation research with HTGR fuel specimens is carried out by collaboration with the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Republic of Kazakhstan (INP) under the project framework of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in order to develop oxidation-resistant SiC fuel compacts for the improvement of nuclear nonproliferation performance and safety of core oxidation accidents.

(6)Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA)

The innovative safety research and so on based on the loss of forced coolant tests with HTTR has been carried out since FY2010. Nine organizations from Japan, the US, France, Germany, Korea, Hungary and Czech have joined this joint research.

(7)International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

JAEA participates in the Technology Working Group on Gas Cooled Reactors (TWG-GCR), Technical Working Group on Small and Medium Sized or Modular Reactors (TWG-SMR) and so on.

(8)Generation-IV International Forum (GIF)

The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) proposed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) is promoting the R&D about six different reactor-core types including Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR).

Japan, the US, Canada, France, Switzerland, UK, Euratom, China, Korea, and Australia are taking part in the international joint research group on VHTR.

The VHTR system steering committee is deliberating report and issue under consideration from each project management board, and reporting progress in each participating country to manage international joint research projects regarding VHTR system in fields of hydrogen production, fuel and fuel cycle and materials.

The hydrogen production project is promoting R&D on IS (iodine-sulfur) cycle, high temperature electrolysis, Cu-Cl (copper-chlorine) cycle and other alternative cycles, and coupling of reactors and hydrogen production processes aiming at large-scale hydrogen production using VHTR.

The fuel and fuel cycle project is mainly promoting R&Ds on joint irradiation tests and post-irradiation examinations utilizing research reactors in Euratom and the US, benchmark analyses by fuel performance models, round-robin tests for characterization of coating layers and fuel safety testing, aiming establishment of fuel technologies for VHTR.

The material project is promoting obtaining of irradiation data and development of unirradiated and irradiated property data base for metal, graphite and ceramic materials used in VHTR.

The computational methods validation and benchmarking project established as new project aims to verify the computational method for HTGRs under international collaboration.

(9)European Union (EU)

JAEA participated in the GEMINI+ project, which aims to establish the flamework for the safety standard, the system concept with high safety and the demonstration of HTGR cogeneration systems deployed in Europe. (This project was completed in Feb. 2021.) Next project is under consideration.