During Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent state visit to Washington during talks with President Joe Biden, bilateral cooperation was strengthened on defence and security; space; advanced technology & economic cooperation; diplomacy & development; and people-to-people ties. The lengthy fact sheet listing these agreements included a short section on nuclear energy in the context of “Deepening Energy Cooperation”.

“Expanding Infrastructure to Support Clean Energy: Our two nations acknowledge the need to expand and modernise power grids and energy infrastructure to keep pace with our ambitious goals for renewable energy deployment,” the fact sheet noted. “We plan to explore means to boost investment in our power grids and share best practices for grid modernization. We also look to expand the use of market-based power purchase agreements by companies and industries to assist access to clean energy, including from both large nuclear reactors and advanced and small modular reactors (A/SMRs), as they attempt to meet their own decarbonisation goals and drive innovation in power intensive industries such as Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, and data centres.”

In a subsection on “Partnering to Deploy Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy”, the fact sheet said the US and Japan “recognise the crucial role of civil nuclear power to meet our overarching climate goals, as affirmed in our participation in the COP28 pledge to triple globally installed nuclear energy by 2050”. It continued: “In pursuit of this vision, the United States applauds the Prime Minister’s plan to restart nuclear reactors to meet its 2030 decarbonization goals. Our two countries acknowledge the transformational opportunities presented through our continued cooperation on A/SMRs, and affirm our continued partnership on joint efforts both bilaterally and multilaterally to deploy A/SMRs this decade.”

Finally, it noted: “Our two countries plan to launch the Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning partnership with Tokyo Electric Power Company and US national laboratories to deepen research cooperation for the steady implementation of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, especially for fuel debris retrieval. Recognising the important role of nuclear energy to both accelerate the energy transition and enhance energy security, the United States and Japan also resolve to promote public-private investment in enriched uranium production capacity free from Russian material.”

Image courtesy of the White House