Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute's (JAERI's) high temperature test reactor (HTTR) last month achieved its maximum output of 30MWt.
The outlet coolant temperature of the graphite moderated helium cooled research reactor reached 850°C for the first time. JAERI will now carry out tests aimed at reaching a coolant temperature of 950°C, followed by research into using the heat to produce hydrogen.
It has also been announced that the Japanese cabinet has approved plans to merge JAERI and the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (JNC) by 2005. The existing JAERI and JNC organisations are to be replaced by an independent body, a bill for which will be drafted and then submitted to the parliament for approval in 2004.
In the interim period until 2004, JAERI and JNC will not receive the allocation of money for R&D, but subsidies will be provided once priorities have been determined.