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Japanese firms in talks over alliance on nuclear power: sources via Japan Times

Two major utilities and a pair of power plant manufacturers are considering a four-way alliance on nuclear power operations, sources said Wednesday, as the industry grapples with rising costs related to decommissioning and safety.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co. are in discussions with Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. to possibly launch a joint company that would handle reactor maintenance. They are also considering jointly decommissioning obsolete reactors, the sources said.

Decommissioning and safety-related costs have been rising for power providers following meltdowns at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Tougher safety rules have been introduced in the wake of the crisis.

Currently, various utilities and power plant-makers are coordinating reactor maintenance work. The four-way partnership aims to consolidate personnel and technology, and streamline costs and operations for better efficiency, the sources said.

The four firms are also expected to share knowledge on work related to their boiling-water reactors, the same type as those at Tepco plants.

Struggling under huge compensation payments over the Fukushima nuclear crisis and plant decommissioning costs, Tepco aims to rebuild itself by realigning its nuclear business.

Through the tie-up, Tepco is also looking into cooperating with other major utilities to resume the planned construction of the Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture.

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