Hitachi Nuclear Business Considering Move to UK

The head of Hitachi has said his company is considering a move to the UK for its nuclear power business.

The Japanese conglomerate works in partnership with General Electric to market the ABWR and ESBWR boiling water reactors and the Generation IV PRISM sodium-cooled reactor. The American side of the partnership, known as GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, is based in North Carolina. The partnership's Japanese side, known as Hitachi GE Nuclear Energy, is currently based in Hitachi City, Japan.

On Tuesday, London's Telegraph newspaper quoted Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi as saying London's position as Europe's unofficial financial capital would make it an ideal headquarters for the Japanese company's nuclear power operation. A move would take place after permission is granted for Hitachi to build new reactors at the UK's Wylfa plant.

In 2012, Hitachi bought out German companies planning to build those units and additional reactors in the UK. Hitachi plans to build two ABWRs at Wylfa, and a generic design assessment of the ABWR is expected to be complete in 2017, according to the World Nuclear Association. Hitachi has a history of relocating divisions to regions where it has won large contracts, announcing it would move its rail headquarters from Tokyo to London this year after a deal to build intercity trains in the UK.

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