Mitsubishi Heavy, 4 utilities to develop new nuclear reactor

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Thursday it will develop a new type of nuclear reactor with four major Japanese utilities, including Kansai Electric Power Co.

The companies will develop an advanced light-water reactor, a new type of pressurized water reactor that is deemed safer than existing models, and plan to put it into use in the mid-2030s.

The other utilities are Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. All four utilities operate Mitsubishi Heavy reactors at their nuclear plants.

The new reactor's output is expected to be about 1.2 million kilowatts, the company said.

In a major policy reversal, the Japanese government announced a plan in August to promote the construction of next-generation nuclear power plants to ensure a stable electricity supply.

The government had shelved the construction of new nuclear reactors and plants since a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 triggered a crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

© Kyodo News