HTGR Research and Development Center was established in February, 2010, as the JAEA organization for research and development (R&D) on nuclear heat applications such as hydrogen production from the High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR). The center is located at the JAEA Oarai site that hosts the HTTR (High Temperature engineering Test Reactor), which is the largest-size (30MWt) and highest temperature (950°C) HTGR currently operating in the world.
Our R&D on the HTGR aims to contribute to global environmental preservation such as reduction in carbon dioxide emission, especially to realization of a Low Carbon Economy where hydrogen is widely applied to fuel cell vehicles and industries. We intend to attain a vision of "Response to heat demand with nuclear energy" with HTGR, which is achievable because the heat now used in Japan is provided only from combustion of fossil fuels with resulting emission of carbon dioxide.
The HTGR has compelling economical characteristics. It can supply hydrogen, process steam, electricity with high efficiency, fresh water by desalination, and district heating. The reactor is economical even in small unit size, easy in operation due to its passive safety characteristics, and deployable in a variety of markets including developing countries in the world.
JAEA has fully established the basic reactor technology through the development, and construction and operation test of the HTTR. Presently, JAEA leads the world in the technologies of the HTGR and hydrogen production developed on the basis of Japanese technologies.
Recently, a growing number of nuclear energy emerging countries such as Poland are considering deployment of HTGR for safe and wide-ranging heat applications as a measure to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The HTGR Research and Development Center has been pursuing test demonstration of connecting HTTR to heat utilization system such as hydrogen production facility, aiming to complete the development of the basic technology for the HTGR related hydrogen and heat production technology in near future. We are also working with the industry to promote export of HTGR technology to nuclear energy emerging countries. The international cooperation is expected to contribute to commercialization of HTGR in Japan.