Toshiba expects 33 reactor orders by 2015

22 May 2008

Japan's Toshiba Corporation expects orders for at least 33 nuclear power reactors by 2015, and plans to expand all its nuclear businesses over the period to 2020, according to the company's president.


The predictions were made earlier this month in Strategies for Growth 2008, the company's outline of the business directions planned for all its divisions. In a question and answer session, the company said that 33 units could be a conservative estimate, adding "we believe it is possible that the number of orders might increase." The Toshiba presentation does not say where it expects the orders for 33 units to come from but highlights the US, China, South Africa and the UK as countries with plans for new projects and where it is making sales efforts. The company plans to more than double its current annual sales target for the nuclear division, to ¥1 trillion ($9.6 billion) in 2020.


In a presentation by Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida the company claimed that it has already received orders for ten AP1000 units – four in China and six in the USA, plus being named as prime contractor in an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the construction of two ABWR units at South Texas Project in the USA. (In fact, the six US AP1000 "orders" are an EPC contract for Southern Co's two units at Vogtle, plus orders for long lead time materials for a further four units.)


Early construction work on the Chinese AP1000 units is already under way, but none of the US units referred to in the Toshiba presentation has yet received a construction go-ahead. In total Combined Construction and Operating Licence (COL) applications have been lodged with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for ten AP1000s and two ABWRs, with a further six AP1000 applications currently planned. Toshiba says that it also expects the number of ABWRs planned to increase.


On the back of the expected orders, Toshiba says it should be able to shorten the time taken to pay off the debt from its 2006 acquisition of US nuclear company and reactor builder Westinghouse to 13 years instead of the initially anticipated 17 years.


The company's presentation outlined the expansion measures it is taking within its nuclear energy businesses to support the anticipated growth. These include expanding the Isogo Nuclear Engineering Center, mergers and acquisitions to reinforce its engineering operations, and a reported ¥50 billion ($480 million) capital investment to enhance its manufacturing and construction capacity through Keihin Operations.


The company also says it intends to expand its activities at both the front and back ends of the nuclear fuel cycle, including accelerating expansion into uranium production and enrichment, and developing its reprocessing activities both at home and overseas.