Nuclear Power Generation in East Asia: Japan's experience and challenges

Former Senior Fellow, RIETI

On July 2, Yukiya Amano, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to International Organizations in Vienna, was elected as the next Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He received the necessary two-thirds majority of votes cast by the 35 countries on the board in this month's balloting, which was held anew after the initial balloting in March failed to choose between Amano and his rival candidate from South Africa. With the approval of the General Conference, he will officially take up his post as the fifth Director General of IAEA in December, succeeding Mohamed ElBaradei. The prolonged selection process reflects the fact that the IAEA is faced with very difficult challenges, and member countries differ widely in their positions as to how to achieve the two goals of promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Amano will become the first IAEA Director General from East Asia at a time when the peaceful use of nuclear energy is becoming increasingly important in the region. This article aims to discuss the significance of nuclear power generation in East Asia and the challenges ahead, based on Japanese experience.

Nuclear power generation in providing energy security and addressing global warming

There has been a long-running debate in Japan about whether we should opt for new energy or nuclear energy. With the exclusion of nuclear energy, Japan is 4% self-sufficient in energy, meaning that only 4% of the primary energy required to support our daily lives and economic activities can be covered by domestic sources. New energy sources such as geothermal, solar, and wind power account for only 0.6%, less than half the percentage of hydraulic power at 1.4%. Even with nuclear energy, Japan's energy self-sufficiency falls slightly below 20%. In other words, we are 80% reliant on fossil fuels - crude oil, coal and natural gas- imported from overseas to supply energy. Thus, from the viewpoint of the need to increase energy self-sufficiency as well as of the need to increase the supply of carbon-free energy sources, both new energy and nuclear energy must be considered as valuable sources, instead of choosing between the two.(note 1)

In order to diversify energy sources, Japan must make the utmost effort to introduce and increase the use of new energy sources such as solar and wind power. At the same time, however, in consideration of the principle of energy efficiency (or energy density), it is unreasonable to expect that new energy sources will replace fossil fuel entirely and become a viable alternative to nuclear energy; that is, unless we are blessed with the luck to achieve extraordinary innovative technological transformation in new energy resources. For instance, if we were to construct a solar power plant to replace a single nuclear reactor with about 1 gigawatt capacity, we would need about 67 square kilometers of land, which is approximately equal to the entire land area inside the circle of the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo and the construction cost would be about 20 times more expensive.(note 2) It is thus believed that the best way Japan could take is to define nuclear energy as a base load power source, promote the maximum use of new energy wherever possible, and boost its energy self-sufficiency by an efficient combination of new energy and nuclear power generation, while at the same time contributing to international efforts to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This idea, referred to as the "best mix of power sources," is supported by many people in Japan.

To be free from poverty and lead a safe and culturally fulfilling life through the use of energy and technology is a desire shared by people all around the world, not just in Japan. Energy demand is rising sharply, particularly in East Asia, which embraces many high-growth economies such as China and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In this region, where countries are becoming increasingly dependent on foreign energy sources, "resource nationalism" is on the rise and some East Asian countries are making aggressive efforts to secure their energy interests elsewhere in the world. However, instead of competing or fighting each other in the energy race, East Asian countries should be defining this issue of energy security as a shared challenge. The greater use of nuclear energy in East Asia seems inevitable; non-proliferation issue should attract serious attention in the region. We should ask other closely-related countries - including Russia, Australia, New Zealand and the South Asian countries - to join and together seek to develop a common vision as to how we can and should ensure a stable supply of energy and combat global warming. This approach would be more constructive than mere rivalry among neighboring countries.

International debate on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear energy security and its impact on Japan's nuclear energy policy

Now, what has it been the history of nuclear power generation in East Asia, focusing primarily on Japan? At the moment, 53 nuclear reactors are operating in Japan, 20 in South Korea, 11 in China, and six in Taiwan. In addition, Vietnam is moving ahead with a concrete plan to introduce nuclear power generation while Indonesia and Thailand are considering following suit. With its first commercial nuclear reactor launched into operation in 1966, Japan has the longest experience of nuclear power generation in Asia, followed by South Korea and Taiwan, which both introduced commercial nuclear reactors in 1978.

It is said that the level of Japan's atomic nucleus research prior to the World War II was fairly high. However, its nuclear research facilities were destroyed during the war and then, when the war ended, the Far Eastern Commission (FEC) prohibited Japan from engaging in nuclear research. It was only after U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his "Atoms for Peace" speech in 1953 that Japan's nuclear research came back to life again. And yet, the path of Japan's postwar efforts toward the peaceful use of nuclear energy has not necessarily been a smooth one.

In 1955, the Atomic Energy Basic Act, which strictly limits the use to peaceful purposes, was formed. Subsequently, in 1956, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) drew up the first Long-term Plan for Research, Development and Utilization of Nuclear Energy. The plan set a direction for the government's nuclear energy policies, calling for the development of a fast breeder reactor (FBR), a type of nuclear breeder considered as the best fit to the needs of Japan, with the aim to eventually complete the nuclear power cycle in Japan - from the production of nuclear fuel to the reprocessing of spent fuel elements. These policies were a common trend among the industrial countries then. Meanwhile, when the IAEA was established in 1957 for the purpose of promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy throughout the world, Japan quickly sought its supply of uranium from the IAEA, demonstrating its strong expectations for the agency. At the same time, Japan decided to import commercial nuclear reactors along with uranium fuel to cope with the sharp rise in domestic energy demand, concluding bilateral nuclear energy agreements (note 3) with suppliers, the United States and the United Kingdom in 1958.

Of these, a light-water nuclear reactor, which was imported from the U.S. for commercial use, involved a uranium enrichment process to convert natural uranium into fuel usable in the reactor. At the time, although the number of light-water nuclear reactors was rising sharply with construction being undertaken in various countries around the world, the U.S. was the sole supplier of enriched uranium. This aroused strong concern about a possible shortfall in uranium supply capacity in the future. For user countries, including Japan and some European countries, the expansion of enriched uranium production capacity and the domestic development of an advanced converter reactor that would not require the enrichment process remained issues of serious concern up until the 1970s.

While the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes steadily progressed, France conducted its first nuclear test in 1960 followed by China in 1964, putting an end to the monopoly of nuclear weapons by the U.S., the Soviet Union and the UK. In 1970, the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) entered into force. Furthermore, India's nuclear test in 1974 brought about the formation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to implement strict control over the exports of nuclear-related materials and technologies. The Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter, inaugurated in 1977, indefinitely deferred the use of commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities and suspended the development of fast breeder reactors in a bid to put a curb on the use of plutonium. In 1978, the U.S. enacted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act (NNPA) that called for strengthening the control over nuclear exports and nuclear fuel supplies. Around that time, Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp.'s nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, was in the final stage of preparation for commencing operation. It is well known that Japan had to go through extremely tough negotiations with the U.S., including talks between the heads of the governments, to obtain approval for the launch of operation as required under the bilateral nuclear energy agreement. Through the negotiation, Japan proved that it addressed itself to nothing but the peaceful use of atomic energy.

Also in the same period of time, the IAEA launched the International Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE), a study program that brought together experts from 46 countries and five international organizations and, after two years and four months of discussion, culminated in a set of reports of more than 20,000 pages in total on nuclear nonproliferation and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In 1980, the INFCE concluded that nuclear nonproliferation should be reconcilable with the peaceful use of nuclear energy by improving safeguard measures, establishing an efficient international system for mitigating the risk of nuclear proliferation, and developing alternative technologies that would effectively contribute to nuclear nonproliferation. In addition to contributing to the INFCE program, Japan has been continuing its efforts to provide specific examples of effective safeguard measures that would assure the peaceful use of nuclear energy, implementing a series of safeguard technology assistance programs - including the TASTEX (1978-81), the HSP (1979-81), the JASPAS (1981-present), and the LASCAR (1988-92) (note 4) - in the form of international joint studies.

By the end of the 1970s, Japan's national effort to develop domestic technologies for constructing nuclear power reactors and recycling nuclear fuels had almost come to fruition. Thus, in the 1980s, the government made moves to privatize with the refinement and upgrading of domestically-developed light-water reactors and the recycling of spent nuclear fuel. A significant step forward was made in 1985 when Aomori Prefecture and the Rokkasho Village formally accepted a request from the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) to construct a nuclear fuel cycle plants and low-level radioactive nuclear waste storage facilities in the village. Also, negotiations were underway with the U.S. on a new bilateral nuclear treaty that would enable Japan to seek an overarching prior approval from Washington covering all the stated activities under its nuclear power program. As exemplified by these developments, the Japanese government made steady efforts to facilitate the entrenchment of nuclear power generation, which was becoming an increasingly important source of energy for Japan after two oil shocks in the 1970s. However, following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the U.S., an unprecedented nuclear power disaster occurred in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Soviet Union in 1986, completely destroying public confidence in nuclear power generation.

The 1990s are referred to as the "dark age for nuclear energy." Amid intensifying scrutiny of nuclear energy resulting from the serious accidents overseas, a succession of domestic accidents was to dash the myth of the infallible safety of nuclear power plants operation in Japan. Meanwhile, as part of structural reform initiatives, the government carried out significant regulatory reform in the electric power sector while, at the same time, proceeding with the reform of the nation's administrative system. In the course of such developments, differences emerged between the government and the private sector, i.e., power companies, in their plans regarding commercialization of government-supported R&D fruit for nuclear power plant innovation. In 1997, the government had to abandon its long-standing nuclear power program to develop a new advanced thermal reactor (ATR) with homegrown technologies, an initiative dating back to 1967. Meanwhile, in 1995, molten sodium leaked from the secondary cooling system of the prototype fast breeder reactor called Monju, which had reached its first criticality only a year before. This was followed by the fire and explosion at the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp.'s asphalt solidification facility in Tokai, in 1997, and then by the fatal criticality accident at JCO Co.'s Tokai nuclear fuel plant in 1999, sending a profound shockwave throughout Japan. The occurrence of these accidents brought Japan's nuclear energy administration under scrutiny, resulting in the restructuring of the relevant governing mechanism at the time of the central government reorganization of 2001. From 2000 onward, Japan's nuclear energy policy has been challenged by a new wave of changes in the international environment including the problem of global warming, rising energy security concerns, and the fight against terrorism.

Japan's contribution to the international community, especially for East Asia, in the peaceful use of nuclear energy

What contribution has Japan made to the international community, especially for East Asia, with respect to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes? In 1963, the Japanese government organized a conference of Asia-Pacific countries for the promotion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy as the nation's first attempt to foster such regional cooperation. During the meeting, the lack of appropriately-trained personnel, materials and facilities, and information was cited as a major challenge commonly faced by countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Participants pointed to the need to make joint efforts, such as joint research, and discussed institutional matters including the possibility of establishing a regional organization (e.g., ASIATOM, PACIATOM) or setting up a regional office of the IAEA. At the time, although power generation was not central to the discussion of nuclear energy cooperation, Japan was already providing assistance to other Asian countries, including the dispatch of nuclear experts. In 1978, Japan joined the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA), an intergovernmental agreement concluded under the auspices of the IAEA, and has since been playing a leading role in the regional cooperation in nuclear-related science and technology. Also, Japan has been playing a significant role in the area of nuclear safety and regulation, as seen in its activities under the Nuclear Safety Standards (NUSS) program launched in 1975 at the IAEA and at the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Furthermore, when China embarked on the construction of its first civilian nuclear power plant in the mid-1980s, Japan extended vigorous cooperation. Concluding a bilateral nuclear energy cooperation agreement in 1986, Japan helped China with the supply of materials, equipment, and technologies in the process of construction, and then with the operation and management of the plant after completion. Back then, other Asian countries were also showing strong interest in the use of nuclear energy and Japan was increasingly counted on for its contribution in this field. Against this backdrop, the Japanese government began clarifying its policy regarding nuclear energy assistance to developing countries. In 1984, the JAEC released a report compiled by its advisory council on nuclear energy cooperation to developing countries. Then, in 1986, the Nuclear Power Subcommittee of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry's Advisory Committee for Energy drew up a report on cooperation in nuclear power generation.

In the 1990s and thereafter, Japan has been continuing to make tangible contributions to the international community in the field of nuclear energy from the viewpoint of addressing both of the two primary goals discussed above, namely, the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It is concerned, however, that such efforts have not been fully understood or acknowledged by Japan's general public, nor by other countries. The safety of nuclear power facilities in the Soviet Union had been questioned since the outbreak of the Chernobyl accident, and the collapse of the country in 1991 added further fuel to the concern. The issue, first raised at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Munich in 1992, became a major issue in subsequent summit meetings. This culminated in the Nuclear Safety and Security Summit in Moscow in 1996, where G7 countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation to the former Soviet Union states and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Japan's cooperation in the area of nuclear safety and security included financial contributions to the Nuclear Safety Account, a multilateral fund set up at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), bilateral assistance through the IAEA and the OECD/NEA, and bilateral assistance in human resource development, for instance, by accepting trainees under the International Invitation Program for Safety Management at Nuclear Power Plants or the so-called 1,000 Trainees Program. Japan also helped Russia construct a liquid radioactive waste processing facility called "Suzuran" (lily of the valley) and provided other relevant assistance, a move intended to prevent the further disposal in the sea of nuclear wastes from decommissioned nuclear submarines left behind by the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile, from the viewpoint of nuclear nonproliferation, Japan, in cooperation with the U.S., the European Union, and Canada, established the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow in 1992 to prevent the brain drain of nuclear researchers and engineers of the former Soviet Union to countries deemed to pose a nuclear proliferation risk. Also, Japan has provided former Soviet Union countries - including Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan - with technical assistance in establishing a nuclear material accountancy and control (NMAC) system that is indispensable to implementing IAEA safeguard measures. In the meantime, before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START) I and II were concluded between the U.S. and the Soviet Union/Russia, whereby the two countries committed to reducing the number of nuclear warheads. Although such obligations must be fulfilled primarily under the responsibility of the respective parties to the treaties, Japan provided cooperation and technical assistance in diverse areas ranging from the construction of storage facilities for fissile materials from dismantled nuclear weapons and the disposal of plutonium by burning it in fast breeder reactors, to the dismantlement of decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines under the project called "Kibo no Hoshi" (Rising Star).

Alarmed by the looming suspicion of Pyongyang's nuclear weapon development, the U.S. sat down at the negotiation table with North Korea, which resulted in the conclusion of the 1994 Framework Agreement between the two countries. In line with this agreement, the U.S. and other concerned countries such as South Korea and Japan established the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO), an international consortium to help North Korea build a light-water nuclear plant, thereby providing physical and financial assistance.

In its relationship with other East Asian countries for peaceful use of atomic technologies, Japan in 1990 began organizing the International Conference for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia as a forum for nuclear policy dialogue among ministers and other senior government officials from nine neighboring Asian countries. The annual conference was redefined as the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) in 2000 and has stayed that way since. In 1996 and 1997, the Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia was held in Tokyo and Seoul respectively, responding to Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's proposal at the Nuclear Safety and Security Summit in Moscow. In the meantime, China's nuclear power plant began operation in 1994. In the same year, a Japanese company was appointed to undertake prior assessment of Indonesia's nuclear power generation program. In consideration of these developments, the Nuclear Power Subcommittee of the MITI's Advisory Committee for Energy compiled a report on multidimensional measures for ensuring nuclear power safety in the neighboring Asian countries under the framework of international cooperation. Then, also in 1995, the JAEC's special subcommittee on international nuclear cooperation drew up a report on the future direction and measures for nuclear international cooperation. In line with these policies, Japan has enhanced bilateral cooperation in training personnel necessary to fulfill nuclear safety responsibilities. In1997, Japan offered additional funds to the IAEA to launch the Extra-budgetary Program on the Safety of Nuclear Installations in South East Asia, Pacific and Far East Countries (EBP Asia). Then, in 2002, the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN) was established under the framework of the EBP Asia program to engage in various activities with an aim to pool, analyze, and share nuclear safety knowledge and experience.

In 2005, the government adopted the Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy, in accordance with which the Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy in 2006 drew up the Nuclear Energy National Plan, reaffirming Japan's commitment to active contribution to international nuclear cooperation.(note 5) As shown by all these initiatives, Japan has been making long steady efforts to build a solid foundation for ensuring nuclear safety in Asia.

A Renaissance in nuclear energy and a paradigm shift in the nonproliferation regime

After the Chernobyl accident, nuclear power generation frequently emerged as a contentious political issue in Europe where substantial damage had been suffered. This resulted in a complete withdrawal or significant retreat from nuclear power generation programs in such countries as Austria, Italy, Sweden, and Germany. Factors behind this include the presence of the North Sea fields that began supplying oil and gas in the 1980s as well as the establishment of the European Union in 1993 and the subsequent deepening of market integration. As the integration of European energy markets proceeded, the procurement of electricity across national borders became far easier than it used to be. In the meantime, the consolidation of the nuclear power industry progressed, particularly concentrating in France. However, due to the lack of viable alternative power sources that can completely replace the existing nuclear power plants, and in light of their internationally-pledged obligations to reduce CO2 emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, European countries began reconsidering the role of nuclear power generation after the turn of the century.

Likewise, the U.S., which had experienced the California electricity crisis, made a turnaround on its nuclear power policy under the Republican government of President George W. Bush, inaugurated in 2001. In the National Energy Policy announced in the same year, the U.S. government made clear its intention to promote nuclear power generation from the viewpoint of energy security and as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In line with this policy, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched the Nuclear Power 2010 program (NP2010) that calls for building and commencing operation of new nuclear power plants by 2010. This was followed by the enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that includes provisions for government assistance to facilitate the resumption of nuclear power plant construction and the development of next generation nuclear reactors. Then, in 2006, the U.S. announced the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), reversing its spent nuclear fuel policy. Previously, all the spent fuel from nuclear power reactors had been disposed of directly in geologic repositories. The GNEP marked a departure from this policy, calling for the development of advanced reprocessing technologies that are capable of reducing nuclear wastes and are highly proliferation-resistant. It also set out the policy to promote the development of fast reactors to consume plutonium and other elements extracted from spent fuel. In the meantime, cooperation is underway between Japan and the U.S., as agreed to in the U.S.-Japan Joint Nuclear Energy Action Plan.

These movements were subject to interplay with nuclear weapon problems such as the global war on terrorism, which had been triggered by the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001, and concern over the increasing number of countries possessing or aspiring to possess nuclear weapons. In 2008, the U.S.-India Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation was brought into force, as India concluded a safeguard agreement with the IAEA and received NSG waiver by consensus, thereby fulfilling the two requirements under the relevant U.S. law. Insisting that the NPT is an unequal treaty, India remains outside this international regime. The country has caused significant ripples in the international community, conducting nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. At the same time, however, India has earned substantial appreciation from the international community for its commitment to democracy and strong stand against terrorism. India has been a long-term friend to Japan and the relationship between the two countries has been deepening in recent years. Meanwhile, unlike the NPT regime that draws the line between five "nuclear-weapon states" and the rest defined as "non-nuclear-weapon states," the GNEP splits signatory countries into those with a fuel-cycle capability, to which Japan belongs, and those without. At the IAEA, in his article "Towards a Safer World" published in the Economist in 2003, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei called for the consideration of multinational approaches (MNA) to the nuclear fuel cycle, which would put nuclear cycle activities such as uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing under multinational management. Discussions have been taking place within the IAEA based on the so-called MNA Report compiled by an international group of experts as well as on proposals made by member countries. In the course of this process, Russia has been steadily making headway. In 2006, Russia proposed an initiative to set up an international nuclear fuel cycle service center, followed by the signing of an inter-governmental agreement for nuclear partnership with Kazakhstan in 2007.(note 6) Countries without a nuclear fuel cycle capability are skeptical about the initiative, which they see as an attempt by the current nuclear fuel supplier countries to maintain their monopoly. What would be a viable international mechanism for managing the entire process of nuclear power generation from the supply of nuclear fuel to backend measures? And what would be a truly effective nuclear nonproliferation regime? Today, as the peaceful use of nuclear energy spreads across the world, the international community finds itself confronted anew with the long-standing questions that have been around since the approval of the IAEA Statute.


U.S. President Barack Obama, who took office in 2009, pledged in his speech in Prague,(note 7) "to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," setting a revolutionary goal that none of his predecessors could touch upon. As concrete steps to achieve that end, President Obama called for strengthening the NPT regime to ensure that violators will be properly punished and promised that the U.S., under his leadership, will break impasse and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Bank Treaty (CTBT) and work toward the conclusion of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).(note 8) Furthermore, he called for building a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, to enable countries to access peaceful nuclear power without increasing the risks of proliferation, which, he said, is the right of every country renouncing nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs.

Although any proliferation risks should be defeated and the military use of nuclear technologies should be severely restricted, use in the true pursuit of peace should be carried out in order to benefit society. Not only the U.S. but also all other concerned countries need to join forces and work toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons, combating the proliferation problems; these efforts will eventually bring about a world free of nuclear threat without hampering the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Today, with the peaceful use of nuclear energy coming under renewed attention, it is all the more necessary to step up efforts not to forget the harsh lessons learned in the devastating nuclear accidents of the past century. In order for Japan, a country with scarce natural resources, to continue to prosper as a global leader in science and technology, it is vital to disseminate accurate knowledge on technologies and foster the next generation of engineers and scientists who can properly utilize and develop technologies. Also, in order to bolster the morale of workers at various nuclear facilities, it is imperative to give fair evaluation to nuclear energy, pursue and realize a rigorous safety culture, and ensure thorough information disclosure.

The problems of energy security and global warming are serious challenges commonly faced by East Asian countries and the use of nuclear power generation may be one useful option. The best energy mix would differ from one country to another depending on the circumstances in which each country finds itself, with key affecting factors ranging from geographical conditions and natural resources endowments to the degree of political stability, the size of economy, and the level of technology. Among all, elimination of nuclear proliferation risks should be given the best priority. By having the correct understanding of all those factors and taking advantage of its expertise and experience accumulated to date, Japan should continue its contribution to the international community so that countries and people in East Asia will live together in peace, fostering better relationships with one another.

July 7, 2009

This article is based on findings of a RIETI research project, the Present State and Challenge of International Cooperation for the Promotion and Safety of Nuclear Power Generation in East Asia. Readers are advised to refer to a forthcoming policy discussion paper on the research.

  1. Energy efficiency figures have been calculated based on data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), "Energy Balances of OECD Countries 2005-2006," published in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's "FY2008 Annual Energy Report" (May 2009).
  2. Comparison of energy density figures is based on the "Nuclear Energy National Plan" (August 2006) compiled by the Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of the METI Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy's Electricity Industry Committee.
  3. An advanced Calder Hall nuclear reactor - a gas-cooled, graphite-moderated natural uranium reactor - imported from the UK, was selected as the first commercial nuclear reactor introduced into Japan. However, all the other commercial reactors are light-water nuclear reactors from the U.S. In 1959, Japan entered into a bilateral atomic agreement with Canada for the supply of natural uranium. To date, bilateral atomic agreements with France, Australia, China, Euratom and Russia have been entered.
  4. The full names of the abbreviations are as follows: TASTEX = Tokai Advanced Safeguards Technology Exercise, HSP = Hexapartite Safeguards Project, JASPAS = Japan Support Program for Agency Safeguards, and LASCAR = Large Scale Reprocessing Plant Safeguards.
  5. Subsequent to this, two more reports have been compiled to the effect of further clarifying Japan's basic stance on its international nuclear policy. These are 1) the December 2008 report compiled by a working group on international nuclear safety within the Subcommittee on Fundamental Policies for Nuclear Safety Infrastructure, which is under the umbrella of the METI Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy's Nuclear Industrial Safety Subcommittee, and 2) the April 2009 report by the Subcommittee to Study International Strategy under the umbrella of the same advisory committee's Electricity Industry Committee.
  6. Japan and Russia signed a bilateral nuclear agreement in May 2009, during a visit to Japan by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Also, the U.S. and Russia are partners in their initiatives in the field of nuclear fuel supply.
  8. Discussions on the CTBT and the FMCT had been made in parallel with those on the indefinite extension of the NPT under the previous Democrat administration of President Bill Clinton. Following President Obama's speech in Prague, the United Nations Conference on Disarmament agreed in its meeting in late May in Geneva to start negotiations on the FMCT. It is envisioned that the FMCT should incorporate provisions banning the production of fissile materials such as enriched uranium and plutonium for the purpose of research, production, and use of explosive devices so as to freeze the nuclear capabilities of all nuclear states both inside and outside the NPT.

August 11, 2009