Hitachi Maintains Talks with Lithuania Over Nuclear Power Plant

From Japan Daily Press

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Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. says it has kept up talks with the European country of Lithuania over plans to build a new nuclear power plant, even after the new government has said it would shelve any nuclear-related projects. As a technology and electronics company that also builds nuclear reactors with General Electric Co., Hitachi won a contract in Lithuania in June to build a new facility that would help the country reduce its dependency on Russia for energy.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi said that while the timing has been delayed, talks have not been completely suspended. Hitachi won the contract with Lithuania’s previous government, which lost power in October. Hitachi has been eager to develop its power plant business overseas as Japan has shunned the use of nuclear power since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, shutting down all but two of the nation’s reactors.

The Japanese conglomerate previously set a goal of making 360 billion yen (approx. $4.25 billion) in sales from nuclear plant construction, but Nakanishi said it wouldn’t be possible at this time to make an accurate forecast. The Hitachi CEO doesn’t believe the worldwide market for nuclear energy will shrink by a significant amount, but at the same time the company needs to see what Japan’s future energy policy will turn out to be. The election of the Liberal Democratic Party, known to be business-friendly, to power and naming of Shinzo Abe as prime minister on Wednesday is widely expected to bring an end to the previous government’s plans of abolishing nuclear power by the 2030s, and even see more reactor restarts in the near future.

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