Japan, Indonesia team up on HTGR development

05 August 2014

A demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) could be constructed in Indonesia following the signing of a cooperation agreement between Japan and Indonesia on developing such reactors.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) announced that it has agreed to extend a cooperation agreement it signed with Indonesia's National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) in May 2007 to include research and development of HTGRs.

Batan is promoting the introduction of nuclear power plants in Indonesia to help meet the county's demand for power. It envisages the start-up of conventional large light-water reactors on the populous islands of Java, Madura, Bali and Sumatra from 2027 onwards. In addition, it is planning for small HTGRs (up to 100 MWe) for deployment on Kalimantan, Sulawesi and other islands to supply power and heat for industrial use.

Prior to the introduction of commercial reactors in Indonesia, Batan is considering building a test and demonstration HTGR. Construction of this unit - with an electrical output of 3-10 MWe and a thermal output of 10-30 MWt - is expected to take four years with the start of operation scheduled for 2020, but design details have not yet been made public.

Japanese experience

JAEA will now share with Batan knowledge that it has acquired in developing its existing small prototype gas-cooled reactor, the High-Temperature Test Reactor (HTTR). This is a 30 MWt graphite-moderated helium gas-cooled reactor which achieved first criticality in November 1998. JAEA said that the knowledge and experience that it built up in designing, constructing and operating the HTTR, as well as from its research into fuels and materials for the reactor, would be useful to Indonesia in producing the conceptual design of its own HTGR.

Japan and Indonesia may also cooperate in research into the use of HTGRs in producing hydrogen, according to JAEA. It plans to construct a hydrogen production system linked to the HTTR.

Earlier this year, the Japanese government included high-temperature reactor research in its draft basic energy plan, and in May the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology's Nuclear Science and Technology Committee established a working group to evaluate the current R&D situation and discuss their future direction, based on domestic and foreign needs.

Japan has previously signed research and development cooperation agreements related to HTGRs with the USA, Kazakhstan, South Korea and China.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News