Japanese consortium to bid for feasibility study on Kazakh HTGR project

Nov 2. The Denki Shimbun. TOKYO

Japanese consortium to bid for feasibility study on Kazakh HTGR projectA Japanese consortium will participate in an international bid for a high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) construction project planned in Kazakhstan. In response to the country’s plan to invite tenders for a feasibility study on its HTGR project, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Toshiba Corporation and other Japanese companies have formed an alliance to promote the High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) developed by JAEA. As South Korea and China are also showing keen interest in joining the international bid, it is expected to be a three-way competition for the contract. In light of the Kazakhstan’s intention to also order the design and construction of the HTGR from the country awarded the feasibility study contract, the Japanese consortium is determined to win the contract by all means.

According to sources, the consortium includes Marubeni Corporation, Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd., and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. in addition to JAEA and Toshiba. The consortium is currently preparing to submit a tender for the feasibility study.

Kazakhstan plans to construct a HTGR with a 50-MW thermal output in the town of Kurchatov, situated in the eastern part of the country, and start the trial operation of the plant by 2020. The country intends to use the reactor for power generation as well as district heat and cooling. The feasibility study is planned for implementation by 2012 to examine the viability of this project. If it is determined that the project is feasible, Kazakhstan expects the reactor design to be completed by 2016.

Sources said that it was still unknown as to when the international bid for the feasibility study would be launched. However, the Japanese corporations are eyeing the opportunity for winning the contract by making preparations at this early stage, given that the country undertaking the feasibility study would also be awarded the contract for the design and construction of the actual plant.

JAEA’s HTTR has achieved the world’s highest reactor outlet temperature of 950 degrees Celsius. It enjoys a reputation as the best performing HTGR in the world in terms of both stability and safety, as demonstrated in several tests including 50-day continuous operation while maintaining its 100% output, which was conducted from January to March this year.