September 17, 2017 2:09 am JST

Japan weighs exports of safer, next-gen nuclear reactors

Order from Poland, worth as much as $9bn, may be there for the taking

A Greenpeace slogan is projected on a Polish coal-fired power plant in 2013: The country wants the latest nuclear reactors as a cleaner energy option. © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's government is mulling plans to export next-generation nuclear reactors that promise a greater degree of safety, with Poland lined up as the probable first destination.

The move, which would involve high temperature gas reactors, or HTGRs, is part of the government's infrastructure export strategy. Poland, which is turning to nuclear power as a cleaner energy option, is looking at acquiring about 20 such reactors -- equipment worth more than 1 trillion yen ($9 billion).

Tokyo will inform Poland of its intentions by the end of this month at the earliest -- though it may face competition from China for the order.

The reactors in question use helium gas as a coolant, unlike conventional reactors that use water. This removes the risk of chemical reactions and vaporization -- and thus the risk of hydrogen or steam explosions. 

A government source said the fuel and other features are designed to prevent a meltdown even when the cooling systems fail -- as they did at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan back in 2011.

Poland relies heavily on coal-fired power plants. But in the wake of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the country wants to switch to HTGRs, which emit virtually no carbon dioxide. 

The Japanese government envisions taking orders through a public-private partnership and is soliciting the involvement of Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Fuji Electric and other companies armed with related technologies. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency is proceeding with HTGR research and development for experimental use -- not yet for commercial purposes.

Using an experimental reactor as a foundation, Japan would ask Poland to cooperate on the development and export of a commercial unit. The Eastern European country, a source said, has a high level of interest in Japanese technologies.

But China, too, is developing this type of reactor. The source said Poland has hinted at the possibility of awarding China the contract.

(Nikkei)

Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(6504)
Sector:
Industry:
Producer Manufacturing
Electrical Products
Market cap(USD): 5,340.26M
Shares: 746.48M

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(7011)
Sector:
Industry:
Producer Manufacturing
Industrial Machinery
Market cap(USD): 12,698.23M
Shares: 337.36M

Hitachi Ltd.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(6501)
Sector:
Industry:
Producer Manufacturing
Industrial Conglomerates
Market cap(USD): 36,364.49M
Shares: 4,833.46M

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

Resubscribe now to continue reading.
BEST OFFER:
Only US$ 9.99 per month for a full-year subscription

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.