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Mitsubishi Heavy partners with 4 utilities to develop new nuke reactor
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. announced that it will, along with four major Japanese power utilities, develop a next-generation nuclear reactor that will go online in the 2030s.
The advanced light water reactor, one of the next-generation reactors that Japan is considering promoting, is an improved version of conventional pressurized water reactors.
The power utilities are Kansai Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co.
The four utilities operate pressurized water reactors.
A Mitsubishi Heavy Industries official said the new reactor will be safer than conventional ones since it will be equipped with a core catcher, designed to cool melted reactor cores in the event of a reactor meltdown like the ones at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2011.
The new reactor could also generate 1.2 gigawatts of electricity, equivalent to the capacity of a large nuclear reactor in Japan, according to the official.
But the company has yet to decide which utility will build the planned reactor and where it will be built because of difficulties finding a new construction site amid a strong public distrust toward nuclear reactors.
The construction of a new nuclear reactor will require $6.91 billion, nearly double the amount spent on building an existing one, due to additional expenses required to comply with stricter safety regulations.