Washington’s nuclear company founded by Bill Gates, TerraPower, will be working with Japan to develop a nuclear reactor design concept intended to help support carbon neutrality efforts globally.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it had expanded a memorandum of understanding with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Mitsubishi Corp (TYO: 8058) established at the beginning of last year for the development of sodium-cooled fast reactors.
“We will promote Japan–U.S. collaboration on fast reactor development through this expanded MOU,” said Masanori Koguchi, President of the JAEA.
The revised MOU will enable the group to harness the capabilities of TerraPower’s existing technologies in combination with knowledge obtained from Japan’s fast reactor demonstration program currently underway.
“We would like to contribute to fast reactor development cooperation between the U.S. and Japan by utilizing the technology and experience we have cultivated over many years,” said Akihiko Kato, Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The agreement between TerraPower and Japan has been revised to enable a size increase of the Natrium reactor design aimed at improved cost competitiveness and metal fuel safety. Natrium is a reactor technology design created by TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy that is currently being developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.
The first American Natrium reactor is expected to be powered up in the 2030s. Several universities, companies and other organizations in the U.S. are involved with the Natrium demonstration project team.
“In order to achieve our climate goals, countries across the world are going to need to deploy advanced reactors starting in the 2030s, and this agreement will help us evaluate the design opportunities for large-scale Natrium plants that can support Japan’s carbon targets,” said TerraPower’s CEO Chris Levesque.
A next-generation fast reactor in Japan will be developed in cooperation with a U.S. government-supported nuclear firm, according to sources. https://t.co/LyPQx0W4DK
— The Japan News (@The_Japan_News) November 1, 2023
The JAEA is still facing ongoing issues from 2011
Nuclear power as a carbon-neutral energy source has been gaining popularity and interest from investors in recent years. Modern nuclear energy systems are becoming increasingly efficient and are now equipped with enhanced safety features.
They utilize uranium resources more efficiently while minimizing the amount of funding required to maintain them.
Despite advancements and the efforts of Japan and the U.S. to develop state-of-the-art nuclear technology, the JAEA is currently concerned with resolving ongoing issues from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power station in 2011. The situation there resulted from a natural disaster combined with major reactor design flaws.
ATHA Energy Corp. (CSE: SASK) (FRA: X5U) (OTCQB: SASKF) is an early-stage company positioning itself to become a key uranium supplier as nuclear power continues to gain popularity.
ATHA has the largest land package in the Athabasca Basin, a top jurisdiction with deposits containing much higher-grade uranium than other parts of the world.
The company is currently processing a vast amount of data on its land package after completing the largest electromagnetic survey in the Athabasca Basin’s history. ATHA aims to have the highest-priority targets in the region identified mid-way through next year before commencing drill testing on them during the latter half of 2024.
The Basin has produced over 900 million pounds of U308 since 1975.
The rising price of uranium is making ATHA and the Athabasca Basin an increasingly attractive investment. The value of uranium has ascended to the highest dollar figure seen since 2008 at approximately US$73.50 per pound.
Many hedge funds have been investing in uranium stocks in recent days, such as Terra Capital, Argonaut Capital Partners and Segra Capital.
ATHA Energy is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage