Japan, U.S. working with Gates on nuclear reactor: report

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Japan, U.S. working with Gates on nuclear reactor: report

TOKYO, Jan 1, Reuters -- The Japan Atomic Energy Agency JAEA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd are working together with the United States and Bill Gates' venture company to build a high-tech nuclear reactor in Wyoming, the daily Yomiuri reported on Saturday.

The parties will sign an agreement as early as January for JAEA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to provide technical support and data from Japan's advanced reactors, according to the report.

In Wyoming, TerraPower, an advanced nuclear power venture founded by Gates, is set to open its Natrium plant in 2028. The U.S. government will provide funding to cover half of the $4 billion project.

Terrapower had initially considered the possibility of building an experimental nuclear plant with state-owned China National Nuclear Corp, but it had to seek new partners after the administration of Donald Trump slowed nuclear deals with China.

The United States hopes to build and export advanced reactors with China and Russia.

Japan had a history of decommissioning its Monju prototype advanced reactor in 2016, a project that cost $8.5 billion but provided little results and years of controversy.

The Monju facility has seen accidents, regulatory breaches, and cover-ups since its conception, and was closed due to public distrust of nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Both JAEA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries could not be reached for comment, as their offices were closed for the New Year holidays.