UPDATE 1-GE Hitachi nuclear reactor wins US design approval

NEW YORK, March 9 Wed Mar 9, 2011 3:33pm EST

NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, an alliance of General Electric Co (GE.N) and Japan's Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) won final design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its next-generation reactor, clearing the way for final certification later in the year.

The decision means all technical issues have been resolved over the economic simplified boiling water reactor, clearing the way for the reactor to be built in countries that recognize U.S. standards, GE Hitachi said.

The NRC is reviewing a license application by a Michigan utility, to use the reactor. DTE Energy Co (DTE.N) subsidiary Detroit Edison has begun the initial stages of site development at a location 35 miles (56 km) south of Detroit.

Multiple reactors could be used at a site in India, as part of India's program to expand use of nuclear energy.

The world market for new nuclear power plant orders will recover in three to five years and "come back strong" after that, a senior executive of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy said in a January interview. [ID:nN14182056]

Hitachi and GE joined forces in 2007 and set up joint ventures in Japan and the United States, with the aim of tapping growing demand for nuclear power. Hitachi owns 80 percent of the Japan venture while GE has a 60 percent stake in the U.S. firm. (Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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