Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. are making final arrangements to invest tens of billions of yen in atomic energy company Areva, which is being bailed out by the French government, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
Through the investment, the heavy machinery manufacturer and the spent-fuel reprocessing firm hope to improve technical cooperation with Areva on decommissioning reactors and reprocessing nuclear fuel.
Areva has been reeling from weak global demand since the 2011 Fukushima disaster triggered a slump in the nuclear power industry.
Areva is being bailed out by the French government, which has been asking Mitsubishi Heavy to invest since last year.
MHI President Shunichi Miyanaga had said that investing in Areva, which has expertise in decommissioning procedures and fuel reprocessing, would benefit Japan as it faces the prospect of decommissioning more aging nuclear reactors amid high public concern over nuclear safety.
A major Chinese nuclear power company is also considering investing in the state-owned group.
Mitsubishi Heavy is also planning to invest in Areva’s plant-building arm in hopes of winning orders to build nuclear power plants in emerging economies where demand is growing.
The heavy machinery maker and Areva are already involved in a joint venture to develop nuclear plants with advanced reactors.