Enhancing Cooperation with Japan
will protect the reactors against tsunami damage
(Photo: Chubu Electric Power Co.)
During a recent one-week visit to Japan, Alexander Bychkov, Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy, met with high-level government officials and attended two major events jointly organized by the IAEA and Japan; he also visited two nuclear installations in Japan, the Monju fast breeder reactor and the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station.
School of Nuclear Energy Management
The Joint Japan-IAEA School for Nuclear Energy Management in Tokaimura was the first such training event held in the Asian region.
“This school provides a unique international educational experience for future managers of nuclear energy programmes from inside and outside Japan” said Mr Bychkov, who spoke at the opening ceremony and also lectured on the nuclear fuel cycle and waste management (see leaflet).
International Workshop on Prevention and Mitigation of Severe Accidents
in Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors (SFR)
At the International SFR Workshop, organized by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in cooperation with the IAEA in Tsuruga on 11–13 June 2012, DDG Bychkov delivered a keynote address (pptx) on ‘Fast Reactors and Closed Fuel Cycle: Safe Technologies and Sustainability’ and highlighted IAEA activities in this field.
“Fast reactors in a closed fuel cycle are recognized as an efficient and effective energy resource. In particular, sodium-cooled fast reactors play an important role in the sustainability of nuclear energy systems”, Mr Bychkov stated.
“If we consider the general framework of safety of fast reactors, current and future fast neutron reactors have to take into account the main lessons learned from the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station”, he observed and noted that “advanced technologies and the closing of the fuel cycle through a transition from thermal to fast reactors will remain a priority for the Agency”.
Monju and Hamaoka
Mr Bychkov’s visit to Japan also included an invitation to tour the prototype fast breeder reactor Monju. “Although it is up to the Japanese government to decide, the restart and operation of Monju would provide the international SFR community with very useful experience to pave the way towards innovative fast reactors”, stated Bychkov.
At the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station, Mr Bychkov was introduced to the ongoing safety measures to prevent tsunami damage to the facility. An 18-meter high embankment is constructed to protect the reactors against waves higher than those that hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011. The barrier would also be 10 meters taller than the highest waves expected in the area in the event of three major earthquakes occurring at the same time.
“I wish to thank all my Japanese hosts for their excellent cooperation, generous hospitality and efficient organization of the events and tours”, emphasized the Deputy Director General.