The U.S. and Japan will begin to cooperate on “advanced fuel cycle technologies” for nuclear plants, or reprocessing nuclear waste, according to the Environmental Capital blog.
Reprocessing helps get rid of nuclear waste, which is why both France and Japan have been big advocates. The U.S. killed a reprocessing plan in the ’70s. Then, the Bush Administration began the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership which included reprocessing and sodium-cooled fast burner reactors. GNEP remains alive internationally; but, domestically advanced nuclear R&D is on life-support funding levels only.
In 2007, Columbia Basin Consulting Group studied the Hanford 400 Area for Advanced Nuclear R&D. Valuable facilities exist including the 400 megawatt Fast Flux Test Facility – now in mothballs – awaiting decision making at the DOE.
If the U.S. is serious about international collaboration, we would open up and make available the world’s most advanced fast reactor testing facilities for combined international use. Without these facilities, collaboration from our side has proven fickle.