Japan and USA enhance cooperation in nuclear energy

15 November 2018

A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between Japan and the USA to "promote the global leadership role" of the two countries in civil nuclear energy.

The memorandum was signed on 13 November by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the USA's Department of Commerce and Department of Energy.

"Until now, in accordance with 'Statement expressed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the US Department of Energy on research and development and industrial cooperation in the civilian nuclear sector' announced on 17 October 2017, we have promoted nuclear cooperation between Japan and the United States aiming to advance [our] strategic energy partnership," METI said in a statement. "With this memorandum of understanding, we will further advance cooperative relations between Japan and the United States in the field of nuclear power."

"In order to contribute to solving global issues such as global warming countermeasures and energy security, it is important for Japan and the USA to demonstrate leadership in the field of nuclear power," METI said. "This memorandum confirms the importance of nuclear cooperation between the two countries and further progress."

The memorandum acknowledges the need for nuclear energy as a "source of affordable, reliable, and clean baseload power, with the major premise of ensuring its safety, the desire to promote commercial partnerships in the nuclear energy sector to facilitate economic growth and energy security for both countries". It also acknowledges "the need to safely and efficiently decommission and remediate nuclear power sites".

The countries intend to cooperate in areas including nuclear research and development, including innovative reactors. They plan to discuss mid- to long-term planning to create private sector-led innovation, as well as encourage the private sector and university researchers to develop advanced reactors.

Other areas of intended cooperation are in decommissioning and back-end fuel cycle management, as well as industrial cooperation for improving safety. Japan and the USA also plan to contribute to the use of nuclear power worldwide. They will also establish a framework for continued dialogue.

Japan and the USA signed an inter-governmental nuclear energy cooperation agreement in November 1987, which entered into force in July the following year. The so-called 123 was automatically renewed in July this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News