17 Jun (NucNet): Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has agreed with leaders of four central European nations to increase cooperation in the energy sector in an attempt to boost exports of nuclear reactors.
“Closer ties with the V4 will lead to infrastructure exports, a goal under Japan’s economic growth strategy,” Mr Abe said after a summit with the Visegrad 4 (V4) regional cooperation framework, consisting of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.
A joint statement released today said Japan needs to contribute to nuclear safety based on lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant.
The statement said the V4 and Japan welcomed the fact that private sectors of both sides demonstrated keen interest in “concrete forms of cooperation in nuclear energy and safety”.
Japan has upgraded its relationship with the V4 from foreign minister’s level, given the fast economic growth of the four member countries. Visegrad is a Hungarian city where Poland, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia agreed on the grouping in 1991.
The four countries plan to build or complete nuclear reactors in an effort to lessen dependence on Russia for energy resources.
The Czech Republic is expected to choose a contractor to build two additional reactors at the Temelin nuclear power plant in September at the earliest. Toshiba Corporation and its US subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, are competing for the contract with a Russian consortium headed by Atomstroyexport, and Areva of France.
In Poland, the government has held talks on developing nuclear with several countries including Japan, France, the US, Canada and South Korea.
Hungary is hoping to build two new units at its Paks nuclear site with plans to make the first operational by 2020 and the second by 2025. In June 2012, the government said the project was economically important and essential for Hungary’s security of energy supply.
According to the IAEA, Slovakia has four nuclear reactors generating half of its electricity and two more, Mochovce-3 and Mochovce-4, under construction.
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