Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was selected as the core company in charge of the conceptual design of a demonstration fast reactor which the Japanese government aims to place into operation in the 2040s. 

MHI will oversee both the conceptual design as well as research and development (R&D) for the sodium-cooled fast reactor in partnership with Mitsubishi FBR Systems, Inc., an MHI Group engineering company that handles the development and design of fast reactors. The conceptual design work is scheduled to start in fiscal 2024.

In a “strategic roadmap” for fast reactor development adopted by the Japanese government in late 2018, a policy was defined to assess the efficacy of various types of fast reactors to be developed following a technological competition among private-sector corporations.

The roadmap was updated at the end of 2022 to reflect two decisions. First, to select a sodium-cooled fast reactor as the target of the conceptual design of the demonstration reactor, set to get underway in fiscal 2024. Second, to select a manufacturer to serve as the core company in charge of the fast reactor’s design and R&D.

MHI already is also involved in a U.S.-Japan cooperation program aimed at enabling faster reactor development and establishing in-house sodium testing facilities. MHI said it is continuing to refine its technologies and develop the necessary human resource to support this important initiative.

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