Safety review sought for HTTR

27 November 2014

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) has requested a safety review by the country's nuclear regulator of the High-Temperature Test Reactor (HTTR), prior to its restart.

HTTR - 400 (JAEA)
The HTTR prototype gas-cooled reactor (Image: JAEA)

JAEA announced on 26 November that it had applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for inspections that will verify whether measures taken at the reactor meet new safety standards.

The HTTR - in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture - is a small prototype gas-cooled reactor. The 30 MWt graphite-moderated helium gas-cooled reactor achieved first criticality in November 1998. JAEA plans to construct a hydrogen production system linked to the HTTR. The reactor has been idle since February 2011, when it was taken offline for planned inspections.

Revised regulations were announced by the NRA in July 2013, which must be met before reactors can secure permission from the NRA to restart. These set out essential requirements enabling plants to respond to a variety of natural phenomena as well as establishing new measures to mitigate the effects of severe accidents, such as reactor core damage caused by beyond design basis events.

Safety assessment applications have so far been submitted for 20 commercial power reactors.

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.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News