JAPAN ATOMIC INDUSTRIAL FORUM, INC.

for Japanese

ATOMS in JAPAN

4 August, 2021

JAEA Restarts High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor “HTTR”

On July 30, after a hiatus of more than ten and a half years, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) restarted its High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR), a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) with a thermal output of 3MW. The reactor is located in Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture, about a 90-minute drive northeast of Tokyo.

The operation of the reactor had been suspended since the beginning of 2011 after its 13th cycle was completed. Since then, JAEA had been endeavoring to meet new regulatory standards for the reactor in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake.

In November 2014, JAEA filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for a compatibility examination of HTTR, following a similar application for its Japan Research Reactor No. 3 (JRR-3) in September. In June 2020, JAEA was given permission (basic design approval) to make changes to the HTTR installation, after which it undertook work on safety measures.

The inspections necessary for restarting the reactor were finally completed In July 2021, and various other inspections will now be successively carried out to confirm the reactor’s performance in operation. A final inspection at full output is slated to take place at the end of September, after which the reactor will commence full operation.

The development of HTGRs has accelerated in recent years in several countries, and Japan has also been engaged in international cooperation in the field. After restarting HTTR’s operations, Japan will promptly resume its participation in the Loss of Forced Coolant (LOFC) Project, a series of safety verification tests that has been carried out within the OECD/NEA framework since 2009.

LOFC tests conducted in 2010, at an initial power setting of 30 %, ascertained that HTTR was naturally stabilized (cooled) by a physical phenomenon (Doppler broadening) without control rods being inserted or coolants being used. Testing under more severe conditions will now be carried out on the reactor incrementally, contributing to the international standardization of safety.

HTGRs are expected to find diverse industrial applications, including hydrogen manufacturing, in the future. The development of corrosion-resistant equipment and facilities will be a challenge, however, given that the iodine-sulfur (IS) process—the technology used to disassociate water to produce hydrogen—is a thermochemical process involving strong acids.

According to explanations of the planned heat-utilization tests given by JAEA’s HTGR Research and Development Center, the core manufacturing technology will first be established, after which technology will be developed by 2030 connecting HTTR and hydrogen manufacturing.

The Japanese government will support the technological development of HTGRs as an activity of the domestic nuclear industry, aiming toward large-scale, low-cost, carbon-free hydrogen manufacturing by 2030 under the policy known as the “Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050.”

Also, the rough draft of Japan’s next Strategic Energy Plan, presented by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) on July 21, recognizes the potential of the project to contribute to the realization of a hydrogen society.

Following HTTR’s restart, Koichi Hagiuda, head of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), released an informal statement saying, “I expect that consistent progress will be made in the various tests to be conducted, enabling the accumulation of HTGR-related technologies.” The minister added, “I foresee that efforts will be made in various areas toward their application, including the development of elemental technology in hydrogen manufacturing using HTTR.”

Meanwhile, in a message on possible HTTR contributions to decarbonization in the industrial sphere, Hiroshi Kajiyama, head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), said that he expected efforts toward carbon neutrality to advance.

Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SNS facebooktwitter

NPPs Map

Video

Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident

10 March, 2021
Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident04:11

Recent News

17 September, 2021
NRA Permits Shimane-2 under New Regulatory Standards
14 September, 2021
IAEA Deputy Director General Evrard Visits Japan in Advance of Safety Review of ALPS-treated Water
1 September, 2021
Evaluation Report Issued by IAEA’s Review Mission to Fukushima Daiichi: First Visit since 2018
24 August, 2021
METI and IAEA Agree on Further Review Missions to Fukushima Daiichi
4 August, 2021
JAEA Restarts High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor “HTTR”
2 August, 2021
Information about Fukushima Daiichi NPS Water Treatment
28 July, 2021
METI’s Committee Shows Rough Draft of Next Strategic Energy Plan
2 July, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarted After Decade-long Hiatus: First Restart in Japan of a Reactor Operating Beyond 40 Years
28 June, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarts after Decade-long Hiatus
25 June, 2021
New Canada-Japan Partnership Supports Greater Collaboration to Meet Climate Change Objectives and Net-zero Goals
24 June, 2021
METI Issues New Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality
16 June, 2021
ANRE Sticks to “S+3E”
16 June, 2021
Japanese Cabinet Approves Environmental White Paper 2021
16 June, 2021
LDP Parliamentary Association to Reconfirm Position on Utilization of Nuclear Power
16 June, 2021
Fukui Governor Concerned about Deletion of Reference to “Maximum Utilization” of Nuclear Power
14 June, 2021
Working Group on Offshore Release of Treated Water Meets in Miyagi
14 June, 2021
NRA Considers Policy on Treating Slurry from ALPS, with Local Understanding Essential
11 June, 2021
Japanese Cabinet Approves Energy White Paper 2021
11 June, 2021
Government Omits Description of “Maximum Utilization” of Nuclear Power
9 June, 2021
MNF Hopes to Resume Fuel Production as Early as November
▲TOP