The nuclear relationship between the UK and Japan is longstanding. The first reactor built in Japan in the 1960s was based on a Magnox design, and the 1970s saw the Japanese utilities sign commercial reprocessing contracts with British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), who later opened an office in Tokyo. The NDA inherited these complex commercial contracts and closing them out is an important part of completing our mission.

Since the Fukushima Daiichi incident in 2011, the UK has increased its support to Japan, using its experience to assist with decommissioning challenges. This has enhanced the reputation of the UK nuclear industry, and facilitated access to the Japanese market by the UK-based supply chain.

The NDA helped to lead seminars in Japan to share expertise in areas such as strategic planning and technical approaches to assist with the immediate response to the incident. The NDA also helped to establish the nuclear mission in the British Embassy in Tokyo, funding a full-time strategic and technical expert to assist with the development of ongoing relationships in Japan. Notably, the NDA helped advise on the establishment of the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Organisation of Japan (NDF), which has responsibility for overseeing the work at Fukushima Daiichi.

We continue to seek to be a trusted partner for the nuclear industry in Japan, sharing our experience on a number of other challenges (e.g. sharing lessons learned at Dounreay in support of decommissioning of the Monju fast-breeder reactor, as well as our experience at Winfrith in support of decommissioning of the Fugen advanced thermal reactor). As the decommissioning programme in Japan develops, we will use our relationships to learn from growing experience and innovation.

This has helped build the reputation of the UK nuclear industry, allowing us to open doors to the Japanese market for the UK-based supply chain who have won substantial contracts in support of the decommissioning programme at Fukushima Daiichi.

As this export support activity has developed, the NDA, INS Japan, and Sellafield Limited, have also supported the DIT in establishing a Team UK approach to developing stronger UK-Japan relationships. Team UK is made up of businesses from across the nuclear market and directly supports the Nuclear Sector Deal (ref 15) objectives. Due to its success, we are looking at using this approach in other markets to unlock opportunities.

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Developing relationships in Japan

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