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Rosatom, the major Russian nuclear corporation, aspires to start commercial introduction of fast rectors

Mr. A. Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, gave an interview to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, (a Japan Economics Newspaper) before his visit to Japan that is to start on April 4. The CEO of Rosatom told about the plans related to the commercial introduction of new Gen fast reactors burning plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel and about the willingness to create an effective system of cooperation with Japan in this area.

Along with power generation, fast reactors are expected to be efficient in multiple nuclear fuel recycling which reduces radioactive wastes. Russia is the country that runs circles in nuclear technologies around all other countries. Russia’s being the first country that has started commercial power generation at BN800 is another proof of the fact.

A. Likhachev told about the plans to continue developing new technologies in this field and to start wide commercial introduction of this reactor type as soon as by 2020. In this regard, he stated that “at present the partnership relations are urgent”. China is being considered as a prospective partner, though A. Likhachev pointed out that “so far we haven’t established effective cooperation with any country and it is our aspiration to start cooperation with countries including Japan”. Mr. A. Likhachev mentioned the willingness to form a system of financial as well as scientific and research cooperation with Japan, as a country with great financial and scientific potential.

As for fast reactor researches in Japan, there was a sequence of accidents at Monju reactor in Fukui Prefecture, and last year the government made a decision to decommission the reactor. However the strategy of nuclear fuel recycling with the use of fast reactors remains the basis of the Japanese nuclear power policy as evidenced by the continuing cooperation with France in the field planning.

According to the government’s plan, a 10-year road map related to fast reactor development is to be completed by next year. The governments of Japan and Russian signed a memorandum envisaging further developments in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Rosatom’s official announcement as a partner of the Japanese side will significantly affect the discussion within the Japanese government of the possible development of fast reactors.