Tepco, Hitachi create JV to produce used fuel casks

24 October 2022

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (Tepco) and Hitachi Zosen Corporation have established a 67-33 joint venture - known as Toso Mirai Manufacturing Company Limited - for the manufacture and sale of used fuel transport and storage casks as well as fuel debris storage containers.

Dry storage casks produced by Hitachi Zosen for Japan Atomic Power Company (Image: Hitachi Zosen)

The new company - plans for which were announced in April this year - will build a plant to manufacture decommissioning-related products in the Hamadori area of ​​Fukushima Prefecture, aiming to start operations during FY2025.

Initially Toso Mirai Manufacturing will produce casks for the storage and transport of used nuclear fuel. However, the partners added: "In the future, we plan to manufacture a container to store fuel debris that has cooled and solidified after the nuclear fuel and structures melted due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station."

Tepco and Hitachi Zosen said they are "working toward the concentration of the decommissioning industry in the Hamadori area of ​​Fukushima Prefecture". Toso Mirai Manufacturing has its head office in J-Village, Fukushima Prefecture, but "in the future, we will consider the location of the head office separately in conjunction with the construction of a factory in Naraha Town".

With a capital of JPY1.5 billion (USD13 million), Toso Mirai Manufacturing has about 10 employees. However, the partners said that "dozens of employees" are planned.

"In the medium to long-term, we will contribute to the reconstruction of our hometown of Fukushima by producing these products, which have [previously] been manufactured outside of Fukushima Prefecture, in the Hamadori area," Tepco and Hitachi Zosen said.

The technology of Toso Mirai Manufacturing is based on the technology of Hitachi Zosen, "which has many achievements in manufacturing nuclear power products such as casks," the partners said.

Osaka-headquartered engineering company Hitachi Zosen has been manufacturing nuclear fuel transport and storage casks since 1978. It has fabricated dry cask storage and transportation systems for US fuel management specialist NAC International since the 1980s.

Hitachi Zosen acquired NAC International from its then owner USEC in a USD45 million deal that provided the Japanese company with a platform to expand its operations in used fuel transportation and storage.

Earlier this month, Tepco and IHI Corporation establish a joint venture - named Toso Mirai Technology Company Limited - for the retrieval of fuel debris from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Plans to establish that joint venture were also announced in April. The company - referred to as 'Decom.Tech' - will organise the basic design of the systems and equipment needed for further expansion of the scale of fuel debris retrieval and will also undertake the research and development necessary for fuel debris retrieval.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News