Japanese nuclear exports consortium launches

26 October 2010

A consortium has been officially launched in order to help Japan gain orders for nuclear power plants from so-called emerging nuclear countries. The consortium comprises nine electric utilities and three nuclear engineering companies. 


The International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co (JINED) was established on 22 October, with the prime purpose of "proposal and research activities for nuclear power plant project orders in emerging countries." The move to establish the consortium is seen as a reaction to South Korea's success in exporting to the United Arab Emirates and directed towards winning new nuclear contracts with the emerging nuclear countries of south-east Asia. The French and Russian nuclear sectors also operate internationally with strong visible backing from their political leaders.


Headquartered in Tokyo, JINED is three-quarters owned by nine electric power companies (so-called "epcos"): Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) (20%); Kansai (15%); Chubu (10%); Hokkaido (5%); Tohoku (5%); Hokuriku (5%); Chugoku (5%); Shikoku (5%); and Kyushu (5%). 


Three nuclear engineering companies each hold a 5% stake in the consortium: Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). The remaining 10% of JINED is held by Innovation Network of Japan (INCJ) - a joint venture of government and industry.


In a statement, Akihiro Ohata, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, said: "Internationally expanding the Japanese nuclear power industry is named as a key goal in the 'New Growth Strategy,' the government's recently formulated policy." He added, "This goal is highly significant for establishing safe and reliable nuclear power plants based on Japanese technologies, contributing to Japan's economic growth, and maintaining and enhancing Japan’s nuclear power industry and nuclear power infrastructure."


Ohata said that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti) will support the initiative by continuing "to make utmost efforts in cooperation with related ministries to hold high-level intergovernmental discussions, facilitate the conclusion of bilateral agreements on nuclear energy cooperation, assist other countries in laying the groundwork for nuclear power generation (development of human resources, the legal framework, etc), and enhance the risk compensation capability of public agencies."


Ichiro Takekuro, former executive vice president of Tepco, has been appointed president of JINED, which has equity capital of ¥200 million ($2.5 million).


In July, a planning committee for establishing the consortium was formed including utilities Tepco, Chubu, Kansai and plant manufacturers Toshiba, Hitachi and MHI, plus Meti, which has been considering a public-private proposal aiming to secure nuclear power plant orders from Vietnam.


At that time, the consortium announced an office in preparation for JINED. The new office has three divisions: a 'Vietnam' division, a 'Business (BWR/PWR)' division and a 'General Affairs' division. The decision to set up the office in advance of the launch of the corporate entity itself was made "to ensure the swift execution of the promotion activities," the partners said.


Japan and Vietnam are reported to have now agreed on a basic bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement which would open the way for Japan to export nuclear energy technologies to Vietnam.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News