TOKYO -- The Japanese and French governments are working toward an agreement to cooperate in the development of fast reactors, a technology designed to reduce nuclear waste.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Francois Hollande will likely affirm the partnership in Paris on May 5. The agreement would build on an earlier comprehensive partnership formed last June in the field of nuclear energy.
Fast neutron reactors convert spent fuel, which remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years, into materials that emit radiation for just a few hundred years, thus helping to reduce overall nuclear waste.
When put into practical operation, such a reactor would generate electricity and cut down on nuclear waste at the same time.
France is developing the Astrid (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration), which it plans to start operating around 2025, but it lacks sufficient reactors to conduct tests. Japan will offer up its Monju prototype fast breeder reactor, which has been idle due to safety concerns, for the tests.