The Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry of Japan is to request pre-application reviews with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to locate a small sodium-cooled reactor in Alaska.

The sealed, fast reactor of around 10MWe would run almost unattended over its 30-year core lifetime and will not require refuelling.

The so-called 4S reactor, developed with Toshiba, will be installed underground in the Alaskan town of Galena and is intended to replace diesel-fuelled generation.

The NRC encourages pre-application reviews prior to a formal license application to offer guidance and to identify and resolve potential issues early on. If approved, the reactor will be the first Japanese-made design run in the USA.