Toshiba Corporation and Westinghouse Electric Company have formed a new joint-venture company to align and expand their activities in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
The new company, Advance Uranium Asset Management, Ltd will be majority-owned by Toshiba (60%), with Westinghouse taking the remaining 40% stake. AUAM will be based at the existing fuel site Springfield in Preston, United Kingdom. The company, headed by managing director Mike Smith, will start operating in April.
AUAM will focus on four main business areas: the marketing and sales of uranium supplies, innovative fuel leasing options, spot market trades and the commercial transport business. It will build on the capabilities of Uranium Asset Management, Ltd, the Westinghouse UK fuel subsidiary.
“By establishing Advance Uranium Asset Management, Ltd., we are more closely aligning Toshiba and Westinghouse’s activities in the front end business,” said president and CEO of Westinghouse Aris Candris.
Yasuharu Igarashi, President & CEO Power Systems Company of Toshiba says: “Under the new joint venture, Toshiba and Westinghouse will deliver and execute on a single strategic vision and create a broader portfolio of integrated solutions.”
The formation of the joint venture will be instrumental for Toshiba to secure uranium supplies for Japanese utilities. In particular, AUAM will allow Toshiba to initiate transactions for its investment interests in Kazakhstan uranium mines.
Although Japan has 54 operating nuclear reactors, which accounted for some 28% of the country’s electricity production in 2009, it has very few domestic uranium reserves. This is part of the reason that Japan has decided to pursue a closed fuel cycle, with reprocessing of spent fuel into mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for re-use in reactors.
AUAM will allow Westinghouse to combine its fuel technology with Toshiba's uranium interests to existing and new customers.
The new company will have approximately 30 employees, made up of staff seconded to AUAM from UAM and a select number of Toshiba executives. AUAM will have initial capital of GBP3 million (approximately US$4.5 million).
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