Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is reportedly making final arrangements to invest tens of billions of yen in French atomic energy company Areva jointly with Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. are making final arrangements to invest tens of billions of yen in atomic energy company Areva, which is being bailed out by the French government, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
Through the investment, the heavy machinery manufacturer and the spent-fuel reprocessing firm hope to improve technical cooperation with Areva on decommissioning reactors and reprocessing nuclear fuel.
Areva has been reeling from weak global demand since the 2011 Fukushima disaster triggered a slump in the nuclear power industry.
Areva is being bailed out by the French government, which has been asking Mitsubishi Heavy to invest since last year.
MHI President Shunichi Miyanaga had said that investing in Areva, which has expertise in decommissioning procedures and fuel reprocessing, would benefit Japan as it faces the prospect of decommissioning more aging nuclear reactors amid high public concern over nuclear safety.
A major Chinese nuclear power company is also considering investing in the state-owned group.
Mitsubishi Heavy is also planning to invest in Areva’s plant-building arm in hopes of winning orders to build nuclear power plants in emerging economies where demand is growing.
The heavy machinery maker and Areva are already involved in a joint venture to develop nuclear plants with advanced reactors.
METI proposed that TEPCO would start a subsidiary to manage all its nuclear plants. Saying it would facilitate restarting the reactors at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa NPP, as since the beginning of the Tepco-owned Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster the government planned to use profits from the Tepco-owned Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP to finance the Fukushima Daiichi disaster costs; and that it would also encourage collaboration among other utilities nuclear power plants, and make merger or sale easier. METI thinks such change would also encourage the public to support nuclear reactors restarting.
As the total decommissionning costs could double, Tepco would also like the rules to be changed so as not take an added large loss on their books.
One day later Hitachi announced that they consider merging their nuclear business with Toshiba and Mistubishi.
These recent new developments show Japan nuclear industry on the defensive, former PM Koizumi warned the Liberal Democratic Party could lose the next election if it focuses on the nuclear power issue.
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