Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been selected as the core company in a fast breeder reactor (FBR) development initiative being promoted by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).

MHI will establish a new company to orchestrate engineering activities toward construction of a demonstration reactor for launching by 2025 and a commercial fast breeder reactor by 2050, with the ultimate aim to supersede the current generation of light-water reactors.

The sodium-cooled loop type reactor is to be developed as part of a policy to accelerate deployment of a world-leading FBR by Japan in its quest for stable future energy supplies. The government has positioned the FBR as the main nuclear power generation system and has promoted its development toward commercialisation as a national project. FBRs make maximum use of uranium resources by generating more fuel than they consume through the burn-up of uranium and plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel using fast neutrons.

In order to clearly define responsibilities, the Ministries of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Economy, Trade and Industry; the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan and JAEA opted to concentrate authority for the FBR’s development into one core company.

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