British prime minister David Cameron met with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda in Toyko today as part of a trade mission. The leaders renewed their commitment to nuclear cooperation as begun in the 1960s.
The two countries promised to continue working on nuclear safety, with the UK welcoming Japan's efforts to create a new regulatory body which "fully takes into consideration the importance of independent, competent, and rigorous regulation of nuclear safety and of enhanced emergency preparedness, according to the principles of continuous improvement and transparency and in line with IAEA safety standards."
Japan and the UK will engage in annual senior-level meetings "to strengthen bilateral cooperation across the full range of civil nuclear activities." They reaffirmed commitments made in a 1998 cooperation deal "to share experience and potential technology in used fuel management, international transport of nuclear materials, and other areas related to the nuclear fuel cycle."
Particular areas noted for "mutually beneficial" cooperation included "Japanese companies' technical expertise in new plant design and construction, and the UK's decommissioning and waste-management experience and technology."
Former UK nuclear giant BNFL sold US-based Westinghouse to Toshiba some years ago and now that company's AP1000 reactor design is one of two designs at a licensing stage that enables new build projects to move ahead. Meanwhile, opportunities for UK firms exist in contributing to the management, mitigation and clean-up of the effects of last year's Fukushima accident.
The joint statement recorded Japan's appreciation for "the UK's heartfelt assistance and measured response" to Fukushima.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News