Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Mitsubishi Materials Corp (MMC), Mitsubishi Corp (MC) and Areva signed the shareholders agreement at the same time to form the joint venture company. The partners aim to set up the new company by 1 April, 2009 and are preparing to build a new factory in the United States.
The partners said the new company will be a “full-fledged nuclear fuel fabrication service supplier, integrating development, design, manufacturing and sales.” It will supply Japanese customers with uranium fuel assemblies for pressurized water reactors (PWRs), boiling water reactors (BWRs) and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs), as well as uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel assemblies.
The new company will also provide related services, including uranium reconversion. It is also set to enter overseas markets as an independent supplier of MHI-designed fuel assemblies for PWRs.
The new company will be set up by restructuring the existing Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel (MNF) company in Tokai-mura, which is currently 66 percent owned by MMC and 34 percent by MHI.
The new joint venture will be 35 percent owned by MHI, 30 percent by MMC, 30 percent by Areva and 5.0 percent by MC.
The creation of the joint venture builds on a memorandum of understanding signed by Areva and Mitsubishi in April 2008 to expand cooperation in the nuclear fuel business. Subsequently, an agreement to form the fuel fabrication joint venture was signed in December 2008.
Areva and MHI also confirmed that they are “doing necessary preparation” to jointly invest in a dedicated nuclear fuel fabrication facility to be constructed in the US.
In 2007, the two companies set up Atmea, a 50-50 joint venture, to develop, market, license and sell a 1100 MWe PWR combining both companies’ technologies.