Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry ministry is reputedly working on a plan to export nuclear power plants to other countries to support its efforts to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The ministry will soon start on a preliminary survey on the plan, which apparently would enable Japan to count reductions in GHG emissions achieved in emerging and developing countries as its own, as a result of using Japanese nuclear power plants and related technology. The survey and associated research will enable a calculation of how much greenhouse gas emissions would fall in countries that imported Japanese nuclear power plants and Japanese technology for building more efficient coal-burning thermal power plants. The ministry estimates for instance that if Japanese technology was introduced at all the planned coal-powered thermal plants in China, that country would be able to cut 8.3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to about 6 percent of Japan’s annual GHG emissions.

The ministry expects to incorporate the plan into the government’s new economic growth strategy, helping it in two areas – economic growth through exports and the promotion of measures to fight global warming. The ministry plans to sign bilateral deals with developing countries in Asia and aims to introduce the scheme in 2013 at the earliest as Japan’s own international emissions trading system.

Under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism industrialised nations can conduct conservation measures in developing countries and count the emissions reductions in the latter as their own. However, the UN system is not perfectly suited to this plan as it does not cover exports of nuclear power plants and related technology.