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Updated: 01/28/2015

Japanese Utility Reportedly Considers Spinning Off Nuclear Power Business

(The Japan Times)  

Japan Atomic Power Co. is considering spinning off its mainstay nuclear power operations into two companies to boost its technical capacity covering two types of reactors, according to sources close to the matter.

The utility, which deals only with nuclear power, is mulling setting up a holding company and reorganize its operations into two companies, one based in east Japan for boiling water reactors (BWRs) and the other in west Japan for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) to obtain human resources separately for each type, the sources said Tuesday.

The move is aimed at creating an organization suited to supporting major power utilities in decommissioning their reactors in an effort to rebuild the company’s struggling business.

The plan was proposed by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company’s leading shareholder, according to the sources. The plan presumably reflects the government’s intention, as it holds a majority stake in Tepco.

Major utilities mainly have BWRs in eastern Japan and PWRs in western Japan.

Established in 1957, Japan Atomic Power is the only Japanese utility with a track record of operating both reactor types. It currently has one reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture and two in Fukui Prefecture.

The suspension of nuclear power plants nationwide following the 2011 Fukushima crisis has reduced the company’s revenue source mainly to just fees paid by Tepco and four other utilities for maintaining facilities.

The five utilities, which pay more than ¥100 billion annually, are calling on Japan Atomic Power to reform its management.

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