Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nuclear Reactor Construction to Surge

In a response to the threat of CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming), more environmentalist and leftist politicians are declaring the need for more nuclear power plants. This is of course an abrupt about face for these ideologues, and suggests a massive special interest attitude adjustment.

Energy Blog recently reported on an agreement between General Electric and Hitachi to build 100 new nuclear plants in the US and Japan over the next 20 years. If you add new plants to be built by Westinghouse/Toshiba, you may begin to understand the type of new construction activity that is likely to occur.

GE will receive a net payment of ``several hundred million'' dollars once the transaction is closed, John Krenicki, head of GE Energy, told reporters today. GE will keep 60 percent of its nuclear business and get 20 percent of Hitachi's Japanese segment, Hitachi President Kazuo Furukawa and Krenicki said.

The combination gives both companies more technology and access to licenses globally to compete with Toshiba, which bought Westinghouse Electric Co., the world's biggest designer of nuclear reactors, for $5.4 billion this year. Hitachi has used GE's licenses to build plants since 1967 and forecast 100 new reactors worldwide in the next 20 years as energy demand grows.

``We'll just have a much better economic outcome for our customers and ourselves if we're closer aligned and take advantage of both experiences as this nuclear renaissance happens,'' Krenicki said.

The GE-led venture, with about 1,500 employees and based in Wilmington, North Carolina, will bid for projects outside Japan, while the Hitachi-led venture will focus on Japan and have about 2,000 employees, the executives said.

The companies, which together earlier this year bid for Westinghouse and lost to Toshiba, plan to sign a contract for the alliance in the first half of next year. They already sell nuclear fuels through a six-year-old alliance, Krenicki said.

.... GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, is the world's biggest maker of power-plant equipment and services. The alliance helps GE get a foothold on service sales from new plants more quickly as Hitachi is building more plants in Japan ``than in the U.S. or than in Europe for that matter,'' Krenicki said.

The companies, which make so-called boiling water reactors, also will look to develop pressurized reactor technology like those made by Westinghouse and Areva, Krenicki said.

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