Washington, January 10 :

The US and Japan are developing a joint nuclear energy plan to collaborate on research and construction of new nuclear power plants, US and Japanese officials said in Washington.

US secretary of energy Samuel Bodman and Akira Amari, Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry, met in Washington to discuss energy cooperation.

The officials told reporters they intend to announce a plan by April to address research and development under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, the construction of new nuclear power plants and regulatory and non-proliferation-related nuclear exchanges.

Bodman said that specific plans are to be developed over the next three months but will likely include tapping Japanese engineers to work on new nuclear power plants in the US. He said that Japanese scientists and nuclear engineers would lend technical expertise in advanced, so-called fast reactors, which use nuclear fuel more efficiently. Fast reactors yield more energy while producing significantly less radioactive waste to be disposed. Japan is in the process of developing such reactors to be put into use on a trial basis in 2008, Amari said. “In Japan we have among the greatest scientists and engineers in this field,” Bodman said.