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1015

Japan/US Increase Hydrogen Cooperation

The Japanese government, looking into the feasibility of producing hydrogen at next-generation nuclear reactors....

The Japanese government, looking into the feasibility of producing hydrogen at next-generation nuclear reactors, will start a joint research project in the United States, sources said.

The project calls for the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI), under the science and technology ministry, to work in tandem with the U.S. Department of Energy to produce hydrogen at an HTGR (gas cooled nuclear reactor) to be built in Idaho in or after 2005

Observers say the Japanese government is also hoping the project will provide momentum for the construction of new nuclear reactors in Japan by expanding their role to include hydrogen production

The United States began generating electricity at a prototype HTGR in the 1980s, but high costs forced the government to shelve the operations

Having learned that JAERI had been operating an experimental HTGR at its research center in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, since 1998 and had succeeded in generating a constant supply of 850-C heat in 2001, the U.S. Department of Energy called on the institute to participate in the research project