JUNO: A Network for Japan - UK Nuclear Opportunities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Materials Science and Engineering

Abstract

The UK and Japan have a long established co-operation in the field of civil nuclear energy, originating in the 1960s. 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.

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. Accordingly, a Japan - UK framework for Civil Nuclear Co-operation was established in 2012, leading to an annual UK - Japan Nuclear Dialogue to strengthen bi-lateral co-operation in civil nuclear energy.

The JUNO Network for Japan - UK Nuclear Opportunities will build on the annual Nuclear Dialogue, and the existing portfolio of bi-lateral projects established through the EPSRC / MEXT sponsored UK - Japan Civil Nuclear Research Programme. The primary aim is to nurture and network the UK and Japan academic communities in civil nuclear energy, leading to the collaborative development of novel methodologies and tools, to address common challenges in decommissioning and waste management, reactor safety and regulation, nuclear energy policy, public communication and engagement, and environmental safety.

To realise this aim, the Network will organise a regular Network meeting and theme focused discussions, with a focus on knowledge exchange, deriving research questions, developing collaborative projects, and disseminating experience and outcomes. The Network will pump prime and monitor development of collaborations through targeted support for short visits, secondments, pilot scale projects and other activities.

Planned Impact

The impact of this research will have both international reach and significance by addressing the shared research and development priorities identified in the UK / Japan Nuclear Dialogue: decommissioning and waste management; nuclear policy; public communication; nuclear safety and regulation; and environmental safety.

These priorities also resonate with the UK Government's Nuclear Industry Strategy to achieve: continuous improvements in nuclear safety; ensuring effective waste management and decommissioning plans are in place; driving down the costs of nuclear power to benefit domestic and industrial consumers through strategic policy actions; and establishing effective collaborations at home and overseas on R&D and innovation.

A key impact of the Network will be to create the positive and engaging environment necessary to support nucleation and growth of professional and interpersonal relationships between researchers in the UK and Japan. This will enable the development of multi-partner interdisciplinary collaborations to define challenging research problems, within our core themes, and the expansive and creative thinking required to address them. Collectively, the talent, resource and facilities of these new UK / Japan collaborations should deliver research outcomes in our core themes of greater significance and impact. As the Network matures, these new partnerships should lead to more substantial research projects, which themselves will address the joint research priorities of the UK and Japan.

The beneficiaries from this research may therefore include: waste management and disposal authorities; nuclear power operators; Government and non-executive advisory bodies; regulators; the public; and researchers in the relevant field. The benefit and impact achieved through network activities and the collaboration it affords will be primarily through new knowledge, methods, models and tools which will reduce the hazard and cost of nuclear power generation and decommissioning, with improved public acceptance.

Publications


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