Japan, UK to deepen nuclear cooperation
Hitachi, Toshiba projects get nod in memo
TOKYO -- The Japanese and the British governments will expand civilian nuclear cooperation under a new agreement, potentially reviving Tokyo's export hopes with support for bids by two companies to build plants in the U.K.
Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko signed the memorandum of cooperation with British Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark here Thursday. Clark called it vital to the U.K.'s industrial strategy and clean-energy development. The memo on international nuclear cooperation was a first for Japan, according to Seko's ministry.
The memorandum mentioned proposals by two Japanese companies to construct British nuclear facilities, noting the progress already made and welcoming further discussion. Hitachi unit Horizon Nuclear Power has outlined a project based at Wylfa Newydd in Wales, with Toshiba joint venture NuGeneration planning a power station in northern England's Cumbria.
Tokyo will initially work with London to review investment and lending for Horizon through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Development Bank of Japan. Japanese financing of the deal would likely reach the scale of 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion), with a framework decided as early as 2017. Tokyo is intent on realizing the British projects, having had its nuclear export ambitions derailed by the cancellation of a Vietnamese plant.
Japan and the U.K. will also cooperate further on nuclear research and development, according to the memorandum, as well as the decommissioning and decontamination of the Fukushima plant facilities ruined by the 2011 earthquake disaster.
Seko used the meeting with Clark to seek assurances that the U.K. would take precautions to maintain a stable business environment as the country leaves the European Union. Clark replied that he intended to do everything possible to support bilateral economic and trade relations.