Japan to join US nuclear reactor project

Japan's atomic energy agency and manufacturing giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are set to provide technical cooperation for a US nuclear reactor project.

The Japanese partners will assist venture firm TerraPower and the US Energy Department. They aim to start providing energy from a so-called fast reactor in 2028. TerraPower was co-founded by Bill Gates.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has been conducting research and development activities on a demonstration reactor domestically.

Sources say the agency and Mitsubishi Heavy will sign a memorandum of understanding. They are to provide design technology and data for the project while aiming to acquire knowledge from the venture.
Science and Technology Policy Minister Kobayashi Takayuki told reporters at a press conference on Friday that Japan's participation in development projects overseas is important both for international cooperation and opportunities to train its human resources.

Kobayashi said advanced technologies and personnel training will be a crucial for Japan's economy.