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The Civil Nuclear Energy Research and Development Working Group (CNWG) held its annual meeting on May 16-18, 2017 at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The CNWG, established at the first Plenary Session of the Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation (the Bilateral Commission) in Tokyo on July 24, 2012, is intended to enhance the mechanisms and procedures for facilitating collaborative R&D between our two countries.
U.S. participants at this year’s meeting included representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and multiple national laboratories. Participants from Japan included the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and other government organizations and universities.
The CNWG has established Sub-Working Groups focusing on several topics: Advanced Reactor R&D, Light-Water Reactor R&D, Fuel Cycle R&D, and Waste Management. Those sub-groups have collaborated on research in such areas as metal fuel core design, materials, modelling and simulation, advanced fuels and probabilistic risk assessment through periodic meetings, side discussions at international forums and webinars. At the annual meeting, the sub-groups reported on technical results which advance civil nuclear energy capabilities beneficial to both Japan and the United States. This included reports on R&D accomplishments, technical publications, international presentations and staff exchanges that more broadly contribute to civil nuclear energy research.
The meeting also explored opportunities for expanded civil nuclear energy research and R&D facility utilization. Many of the attendees participated in tours of the Advanced Test Reactor or the Materials and Fuels complex at INL. A summary of the U.S.-Japan Three Mile Island-2 Knowledge Transfer Workshop highlighted results from the workshop held at INL October 10-14, 2016. That workshop provided information of use to Japan in their efforts to decommission the Fukushima plants. Over 60 technical experts from government organizations, national laboratories, and industry participated in the workshop. It was agreed that the CNWG continues to enhance coordination of U.S. and Japanese R&D in civil nuclear energy and is promoting the use of unique expertise and facilities available in both countries.