Toshiba finalizing deals to build 4 U.S. reactors

TOKYO, JAPAN - Shares in Japan's Toshiba Corp. rose to a five-week high after it said it is close to winning orders to build four nuclear reactors in the United States, estimated to be worth a total of $14 billion.

Reactor makers are riding on a boom in nuclear power plant construction in the United States, helped by financial incentives and growing fears about global warming. By 2010, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects to see as many as 33 applications to build reactors.

"Toshiba is in final talks to win these orders for up to four nuclear reactors in the U.S., but nothing has been decided," spokesman Keisuke Ohmori said.

Reuters reported that Shaw Group Inc and U.S. nuclear power firm Westinghouse, which Toshiba bought in 2006, are finalizing terms of an engineering and procurement contract to build two new Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear units in South Carolina for SCANA Corp ACG.N subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.

Westinghouse would procure the key components and materials used inside the reactors whose orders can take years to fill, the companies said.

Earlier this week, Reuters also reported that in addition to SCANA, Southern Co also filed an application with the NRC to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in Georgia.

Neither Toshiba nor the utility firms gave estimates about the size of the orders, but other firms say the cost of building a similar size reactor would be about $3.5 billion each.

Each AP1000 reactor can generate about 1,100 megawatts of electricity.

Toshiba aims to leverage the Westinghouse brand and technology in pressurized water reactors along with its own experience building and maintaining boiling water reactors and procuring nuclear fuel supplies to win more orders abroad.

Toshiba's rivals include Areva, which has teamed up with Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., and General Electric, which has partnered with Hitachi Ltd.

Just recently, Westinghouse said it won a 5-year contract to provide nuclear fuel supplies to three Ukrainian reactors starting in 2011.


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