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Hitachi revs up to dismantle Japanese nuclear power plants via Nikkei Asian Review

Technology group starting with two reactors

TOKYO — Hitachi will provide technology for decommissioning Japanese reactors in hopes of making gold out of the country’s aging nuclear infrastructure, starting with two units at a Shizuoka Prefecture plant.

Chubu Electric Power recently awarded the Japanese technology conglomerate primary bargaining rights for equipment to remove radioactive material remaining at the Hamaoka Nuclear power plant’s No. 1 and No. 2 reactors. The deal, to be officially inked later, is estimated at several billion yen (1 billion yen equals $8.98 million).

Hitachi will also aim to win orders for installation and related work from Chubu Electric, which estimates a roughly 90 billion yen tab for dismantling the two reactors.

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The two Hamaoka units are among the roughly 30 boiling water reactors in Japan, which account for 60% of Japan’s units. By building up its decommissioning know-how through the Chubu Electric deal, Hitachi would put itself in an enviable position to take on a host of other assignments.  

Apart from those at Fukushima Dai-ichi, nine Japanese reactors have been effectively slated for decommissioning. Other reactors, such as the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kansai Electric Power‘s Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture, are about to hit their fourth decade in operation, a threshold for winding down.

In Japan, no commercial nuclear reactors have been completely dismantled, a situation Hitachi sees as a business opportunity. Rival Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established a division dedicated to the decommissioning business in 2015, and it is looking to assist Kansai Electric dismantle reactors at the Mihama plant, also in Fukui Prefecture.

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