From 2018 to 2021, the Mansfield Foundation convened a U.S.-Japan-Korea Dialogue on Aligning Security Concerns and Spent Fuel Strategies. The program reflected two distinct realities. Firstly, the U.S., Japan, and Korea, while three of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of nuclear energy experience, technology, and capacity, all face significant challenges and questions regarding their plans for the “back end” of the nuclear fuel cycle. Secondly, the three countries also share security concerns. Japan and Korea are two of the U.S.’s most important security allies. Moreover, Japan and Korea cooperate—often to significant effect—on regional security. This fact, despite the two countries’ fraught history, underscores the extent to which Japan and Korea each share a similar view of regional security not only with the U.S., but also with each other. The Dialogue explored the connections between these two areas—back-end fuel cycle strategies and regional security—within the context of the U.S.-Japan-Korea triangle, and it aimed to surface alignment and inconsistencies between them. Ultimately the Dialogue aimed to recommend ways in which the three countries, whether in cooperation or individually, can orient future strategies for the back end of the fuel cycle in order to better support shared security goals such as solutions to the North Korea challenge.
In consultation with Dialogue participants, the Mansfield Foundation published a written report, “Trilateral Cooperation in East Asia,” in June 2022, with roll-out events in Seoul and Tokyo.
♦ Contribute to policy consistency between three countries’ shared security concerns and their respective strategies for dealing with spent nuclear fuel
♦ Advance collaborative or individual strategies for dealing with nuclear spent fuel that complement shared strategic priorities such as solutions to the North Korea challenge
♦ Enhance relationships among individuals who contribute to their countries’ collaborative potential on nuclear energy and its related challenges
Past Program Updates
The Mansfield Foundation convened a workshop on “Aligning Security Concerns and Spent Fuel Strategies,” involving 18 engineers and political scientists from Korea, Japan, and the United States. The workshop, held in Zurich, Switzerland from July 21-24, addressed the connections between nuclear energy policy decisions and the three countries’ shared regional security concerns. Over the course of the workshop, participants visited two Swiss nuclear energy sites that demonstrate some of the options and considerations relevant to spent fuel management in the U.S., Japan, and Korea: the ZWILAG centralized interim spent fuel storage facility and the Grimsel Test Site (where multinational teams are conducting tests on geological storage of nuclear waste). Mansfield Foundation President & CEO Frank Jannuzi and Director of Programs and Development Ryan Shaffer participated in the workshop, as did Mansfield Foundation Distinguished Fellow Tom Countryman. The project is funded by the MacArthur Foundation.
The Mansfield Foundation convened a second workshop on “Aligning Security Concerns and Spent Fuel Strategies,” involving 16 engineers and political scientists from Korea, Japan, and the United States. The workshop, held in Sweden and hosted at SIPRI from December 5-7, identified shared intresests in spent fuel management and began work on drafting findings from the group. During the workshop, the participants also visited the site of a spent fuel repository in Forsmark and met with officials from the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB). Mansfield Foundation President & CEO Frank Jannuzi and Director of Programs and Development Ryan Shaffer participated in the workshop, as did Mansfield Foundation Distinguished Fellow Tom Countryman. The project is funded by the MacArthur Foundation.