Toshiba, IHI in talks on nuclear power venture

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese heavy machinery manufacturer IHI Corp 7013.T said on Monday it is in talks with Toshiba Corp 6502.T to set up a joint venture to make key components for nuclear power plants.

The two have been partners for decades in the manufacturing of nuclear power generation equipment. Toshiba makes steam turbines and IHI builds nuclear reactor pressure vessels.

They aim to boost their cost competitiveness by combining operations and to tap growing global demand for nuclear energy and lure customers away from rivals including Japan's Hitachi Ltd 6501.T and France's Areva CEPFi.PA.

“We are now in talks about jointly producing steam turbine casings and nozzles, but nothing has been decided,” said a Toshiba spokesman.

Toshiba shares rose 2.8 percent to 547 yen and IHI jumped 5.6 percent to 170 yen, against a 2.2 percent gain in the Nikkei average .N225.

Toshiba, which own U.S. nuclear firm Westinghouse, has been shifting its resources in its nuclear business as a growing number of countries including the United States look to nuclear power as a cleaner alternative to conventional thermal electric generators powered by coal, oil and gas.

Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Hugh Lawson