Background

The UK and Japan have a long established co-operation in the field of civil nuclear energy, originating in the 1960s. The UK supplied Japan’s first commercial nuclear power reactor, based on the Magnox design, which operated on the Tokai site, from 1966-1998, generating in excess of 27.7 billion KWh.  Nuclear fuel from this reactor, and later Light Water Reactors in Japan, was reprocessed under contract to British Nuclear Fuels, and its successors, from mid 1970s onwards.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, on 11 March 2011, leading to partial melt down of three Boiling Water Reactors at the Fukushima Daiici site (Units 1-3), the UK and Japan have established a strong collaboration in the field of nuclear decommissioning and waste management [1-3].  The Governments of UK and Japan recognise the importance of stronger collaboration and co-operation in the field of civil nuclear energy, to address the challenges of legacy decommissioning and waste management, and exploitation of nuclear fission technology as a safe, affordable, low carbon energy supply.

The Japan – UK framework for Civil Nuclear Co-operation was established in 2012 [1], leading to an annual UK – Japan Nuclear dialogue to strengthen bi-lateral co-operation in civil nuclear energy [4-6]. The mission of the EPSRC JUNO Network for Japan – UK Nuclear Opportunities, is to build on the foundations of this bi-lateral co-operation, to facilitate, create, nurture and co-ordinate collaboration in civil nuclear energy between academic researchers in the UK and Japan.  The initial Network membership comprises over 80 individuals from more than 20 organisations.

References

1. Japan-UK Framework on Civil Nuclear Co-operation, 2012 (link).

2. UK – Japan Joint Statement, 2014 (link).

3. UK – Japan Joint Statement on Climate Change and Energy Cooperation, 2014 (link).

4. Second Annual UK-Japan Nuclear Dialogue, 2013 (link).

5. Third Annual UK-Japan Nuclear Dialogue, 2014 (link);

6. Fourth Annual UK-Japan Nuclear Dialogue, 2015 (link).