May 26, 2008 / 4:27 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-M'bishi Heavy mulls new plant for nuclear reactor

(Adds details, background)

TOKYO, May 26 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (7011.T), Japan’s biggest heavy machinery company, said on Monday it was considering building a new plant to make nuclear power reactor vessels and other equipment in Japan.

The investment would be in line with its strategy to receive orders and build two pressurised water reactors every year over the next decade, a company spokesman said.

The plant, to be built next to its Akashi plant in central Japan, will have a production capacity of two reactor vessels and two structures, known as internal cores, a year, he said.

The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday the plant, estimated to cost several hundred million dollars, will start operations in around 2010.

Mitsubishi, previously an ally of Westinghouse Electric Co, has been strengthening sales of its own 1,700-megawatt reactor, US APWR, in the U.S. market since rival Toshiba Corp (6502.T) bought Westinghouse in 2006.

    It has won an order to build two reactors from U.S. power operator Luminant, a subsidiary of energy Future Holdings Corp of Dallas, the former TXU Corp.

    The company has said the sales will start contributing to Mitsubishi Heavy’s earnings in around 2012.

    Mitsubishi said last year it would triple worldwide sales of its pressurised water reactors and of third-generation, 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plants being developed jointly with French company Areva SA CEPFi.PA to 600 billion yen ($5.8 billion) by 2017.

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