Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has established a new company, Mitsubishi FBR Systems (MFBR) as part of its plans to develop fast breeder reactors.

The launch follows an April decision by the Japanese government to select MHI to serve as the core company in fast breeder development in Japan.

MFBR will take charge of coordinating all activities geared to the development, including conceptual design of the demonstration reactor and commercial reactor, targeting its completion in 2015, and order placement of new technologies for innovation to manufacturers. The company is also targeted to play a major role in international collaboration in FBR development with investment by electricity providers to be accepted in the future.

FBRs use liquid-metal sodium for the reactor coolant and burn uranium and plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel using fast neutrons.

The Japanese government has designated the technology as the main nuclear power generation system of the 21st century, superseding light-water reactors. The plans call for the construction of a demonstration reactor for launching by 2025 and the first commercial reactor for introduction by 2050.

MHI is also planning to establish a new Global Nuclear Business & Operation Department. The move is aimed at enabling the company to respond promptly to business opportunities in new nuclear power plant construction projects which are anticipated to increase amid the trend toward re-evaluating nuclear power generation. In addition to brisk business negotiations relating to nuclear projects, including from China, activities are also building momentum to expand sales of the PWR plant MHI is jointly promoting with Areva.

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