Tokyo, June 22, 2007 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), AREVA, Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL) and US partners Washington Group International, BWX Technologies, Inc. and Battelle Memorial Institute have decided to jointly propose a plan for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) initiative being promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In response to DOE's open call for candidate plans, on June 21 (U.S. EST) MHI submitted a proposal as the Japanese side representative of this international team.
GNEP, first announced by President George W. Bush as part of his Advanced Energy Initiative, is a global nuclear fuel recycling program that DOE rolled out in February 2006. GNEP calls for the promotion of effective utilization of nuclear energy resources through recycling of spent nuclear fuels from light water reactors and generating electricity with an advanced reactor that consumes transuranic elements as part of its fuel. More generally, GNEP is a comprehensive strategy to increase U.S. and global energy security, reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation, encourage clean energy development around the world, and improve the environment.
To realize the GNEP initiative, DOE has invited nuclear power industries within the U.S. and abroad to submit package proposals concerning both a Consolidated Fuel Treatment Center (CFTC) and an Advanced Recycling Reactor (ARR). The CFTC, for reprocessing of spent fuel and the ARR, for burning nuclear fuels containing transuranic elements, constitute the technological core of the GNEP initiative.
The proposal to DOE calls for a scheme under which, within the global proposal, MHI will be leading the ARR development while AREVA will lead the CFTC development. For the ARR, MHI is proposing a loop-type fast reactor concept that uses liquid-metal sodium for the reactor coolant.
The proposal to DOE, which reflects the swift determination of the Japanese government to participate in the GNEP initiative, was submitted after discussions with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and JNFL.
In this international proposal, MHI is supported on the ARR side by the expertise of Japanese manufacturers and the aforementioned ministries and organizations. For the CFTC, JNFL, which has already announced its teaming-up with AREVA, will lead the Japanese team supporting this part of the proposal.
In parallel with the foregoing, MHI is energetically pursuing development of a fast breeder reactor (FBR), which the company is developing as the core participant in FBR development in Japan, to become a global standard. With these activities, MHI aims to contribute globally to the effective utilization of nuclear energy resources, environmental preservation and minimization of the risk of nuclear proliferation.