Japan exit from nuclear exports would leave field to Russia, China

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The possible withdrawal of Japanese conglomerates from nuclear export projects in Britain and Turkey would leave the nuclear newbuild industry open to Russian and Chinese state-owned companies. Japanese media reported this month that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) was set to scrap the Sinop nuclear project in Turkey as cost estimates had nearly doubled to around 5 trillion yen ($44 billion), according to Reuters.

Last week, Hitachi was reported to be considering whether to scrap its 3 trillion yen Horizon nuclear project in Britain as cost estimates had risen, while Toshiba liquidated its UK project this year.

A source involved in the Turkish project told Reuters MHI had effectively abandoned it.

He said the deal, signed in 2013 between Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, had been too ambitious. The project, earmarked for a country with no nuclear tradition, would have been the first to use the untested Atmea reactor developed by MHI and France’s Areva, the source noted.

MHI Chief Executive Shunichi Miyanaga said this month it was up to the Turkish and Japanese governments to decide on the project, adding that Turkey was examining a feasibility study MHI had submitted.

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