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Toshiba Corp. President and CEO Atsutoshi Nishida was a strong supporter of his company's new U.S. nuclear initiatives  (Source: REUTERS/Toshiyuki Aizawa)

The new company will market Toshiba's advanced 4S reactor design. This small reactor design is made to power a small town with a minimal footprint, as pictured here.  (Source: Toshiba and Westinghouse)
Toshiba looks to help satisfy the growing demand for nuclear power in the U.S.

Nuclear power may have its critics, which argue that it isn't a viable large-scale replacement to fossil fuels, but enthusiasm for nuclear power continues to mount in the U.S. and abroad.

Also, nuclear is being embraced not just for alternative energy, but also for medical and research purposes.  Worldwide need for medical isotopes was brought into sharp focus when a reactor in Canada was forced to close, and then due to the medical crisis that ensued, swiftly reopen.  The end results is growing public support for nuclear-driven technology.

In the U.S. alone, electric utilities have announce plans to construct 30 new plants in coming years.  Among these is NRG Energy's application, which was the first application for an entirely new plant in 30 years.  Many of the new construction projects will implement sophisticated technologies such as advanced boiling water reactors (ABWR) and pressurized water reactors (AP-1000).  These designs will offer additional improvements in efficiency, safety, and output over current designs.

Toshiba is looking to jump onboard the burgeoning nuclear market.  It announced today that it has created Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation, a new company that started this month.  The company, based just outside Washington D.C., will enhance the existing nuclear lines of business which Toshiba held.  Its primary initial focus will be on promoting and marketing the advanced boiling water (ABWR) nuclear power plant design.  It will also provide support for related services.

As the new company grows, Toshiba wants to expand its capabilities to include licensing and engineeering support for technologies to go into new nuclear plants in the future.  Toshiba and Westinghouse, a Toshiba Group company have both been working to promote the ABWR and AP-1000 reactor designs.  The new company will add more market and support resources to these efforts.

Toshiba's new company has a workforce of 30 employees.  This number is expected to greatly expand, once construction on the various plant proposals in the U.S. begins in full, which is projected to occur around 2011.  At this point, Toshiba explains, it will also add engineering support staff at liason offices near the sites of construction. 

Toshiba and Westinghouse focus on the development, implementation and marketing of operation and maintenance (OP&M) technologies, technologies to keep plants running in peak shape. Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation will rely chiefly on Westinghouse for these OP&M capabilities in America.  The new company will also help network Westinghouse's construction management talent, which has been cultivated during construction projects in Japan.  The company will also support older PWR and BWR designs.

Perhaps most exciting the new company will help to promote the 4S reactor design.  This design is a small, and extremely simple and safe system, which offers great promise for distributed nuclear power generation.  Toshiba also announced that it may use the new company to help participate in the Next-Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project. 

Toshiba calls nuclear power, "a cost-efficient long-term energy source, a powerful tool in the fight against global warming, and an integral part of a future hydrogen economy." 

Its new line of business will also market nuclear power in Europe, Asia and North America.

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In other news...
By ninjit on 3/6/2008 4:11:20 PM , Rating: 4

Not to be outdone by the likes of Toshiba, Sony today also announced the creation of a Nuclear subsidiary within America, called Sony America Nuclear Energy, or SANE

By using newly developed BLUE (Better, Longer, Uber-Energy) uranium fuel rods, Sony claims to be able to provide more data... err power from any given reactor, as compared to Toshiba's design.

Production of BLUE fuel rods is still plagued by defects, leading to low yields and hence higher costs per shtick. However Sony remains committed to their viability, and believes the public will eventually support their efforts as well.

As with all nuclear technologies, the risk of theft and/or terrorism ever looms, to which Sony has several answers:

1. These new BRs (BLUE Reactors) will be disc-shaped, and stacked to mimic regular grain Silos, confounding efforts to locate them.

2. Recently leaked designs also show these BR "discs" plastered with DRM stickers(along with the subtext "Don't Remove Me"), but what this DRM does, and how it will prevent theft of nuclear secrets is still unclear.

Sony chairman, Howard Stringer, has tapped recently retired SCEI chairman, Ken Kutaragi, to head up the new nuclear company, saying:
"With what Ken has done with the Playstation brand, and for Sony as whole, we think he will do wonders in SANE"

In accepting his new position, Ken expressed a desire to work with fellow video-game messiah, Hideo Kojima, on security for SANE:
"I think having Koji's mecha from the MGS series defending our new reactors would be friggin' awesome!"

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