Japan may take part in a programme for reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons, according to Russia’s first deputy atomic energy minister, Valentin Ivanov. Speaking on a visit to Japan, Ivanov said Russia had decided to use its excess weapons-grade plutonium to make MOX fuel for use in its BN-600 and BOR-60 fast reactors.

“Japan is interested in these technologies because they, like us, intend to use fast reactors as the main element of the fuel cycle. Japan has been closely studying Russia’s achievements in this area for the past five years and has recently expressed a desire to take part in our programme for reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium, thinking it may benefit from it,” he said.

Ivanov emphasised that Japan is more interested in bilateral cooperation in this sphere than Russia.

“Russia does not need nuclear technologies. We already have them. As for Japan, we are talking here about future technologies to be used by its own industry,” he said.