Areva, Mitsubishi Heavy expand tie to nuclear fuel

If there’s a way to feed greed, the corporate sector will find it!  Or die trying…  From The Guardian:

Areva, Mitsubishi Heavy expand tie to nuclear fuel

  • Reuters, Monday December 22 2008
  • TOKYO, Dec 22 (Reuters) – French nuclear reactor builder Areva will work together with Japanese machinery conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and others to produce nuclear fuel in Japan, the companies said on Monday.
    The news, first reported by the Nikkei business daily on Sunday, pushed Mitsubishi Heavy shares up 3.2 percent on Monday, outpacing the benchmark Nikkei average’s 1.6 percent rise.
    Areva said it would transfer its nuclear fuel business in Japan to Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Co — a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy and Mitsubishi Materials Corp — early next year, in return for a 30 percent stake in the company for an undisclosed sum.
    The deal will deepen the partnership between Mitsubishi Heavy and Areva, which are already cooperating in the development of a new midsize nuclear reactor.
    The newly created Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Corp will be owned 35 percent by Mitsubishi Heavy, 30 percent by Mitsubishi Materials, 30 percent by Areva and 5 percent by trading company Mitsubishi Corp.
    It will supply uranium fuel for pressurised water reactors (PWRs), boiling water reactors (BWRs) and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, among others, in Japan. It also plans to sell fuel designed by Mitsubishi Heavy in overseas markets, they said.
    “The deal’s impact on Mitsubishi Heavy’s profit will be limited,” Shigeki Okazaki, analyst at Nomura Securities, said in a research note. “But it is positive in that Mitsubishi can obtain the know-how for BWR fuel, an area the company is weak in, at a relatively low cost.”
    Separately, Mitsubishi Heavy and Areva said they had agreed to jointly invest in a nuclear fuel plant to be built in the United States.
    The growing alliance comes as the world’s nuclear reactor makers consolidate into three groups amid a boom in nuclear plant construction in the United States and China.
    Japanese electric conglomerate Toshiba Corp has bought U.S. nuclear power firm Westinghouse, while General Electric has teamed up with Hitachi Ltd. (Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Chris Gallagher)