• Kyodo

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Japan will bolster the development of next-generation nuclear power technology in cooperation with the United States and other partners, industry minister Koichi Hagiuda said Thursday during talks with his U.S. counterpart.

Hagiuda told U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during video talks that the Japanese government will urge more local energy companies to join an international program to test fast reactors and small modular reactors, or SMRs, developed by U.S. companies such as NuScale Power LLC and others, according to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

SMRs are considered a safer alternative to existing reactors as they have a smaller electricity generation capacity due to their size. They also cost less to construct and are easier to install in remote regions with less developed infrastructure. Fast reactors are part of the facilities needed for nuclear fuel recycling.

The talks, the first of their kind for Hagiuda since he assumed the role last year, come as Japan is ramping up its efforts to develop advanced nuclear power technology.

The Japanese government plans in its national energy plan to support domestic companies that take part in international experiments involving such technologies. The United States and France are among the other participants in the international program.

The government has stuck to its policy of restarting nuclear reactors under stricter regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants.

Japan and the United States also agreed to work closely in other clean energy sectors such as hydrogen, fuel ammonia, carbon capture, utilization and storage and carbon recycling.

The two countries formed a partnership in April 2021 to curb carbon emissions through cooperation in such areas as renewable energy and battery technology.

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