• Kyodo

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Chugoku Electric Power Co. is considering building a large thermal power plant in the Tokyo metropolitan area jointly with Tokyo Gas Co. and JFE Holdings Inc., sources familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The Hiroshima-based utility serves part of western Japan but is aiming to diversity its revenue steams by taking advantage of the upcoming liberalization of the electricity market in 2016 amid lingering uncertainty over the future nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

All of the nation’s 48 commercial reactors have been idled for safety checks under new safety standards, but the prospects for restarts are not unclear for many of them.

Chugoku Electric plans to participate in a tender to be held in fiscal 2014 ending next March to build and operate a thermal power plant in the area served by beleaguered Tokyo Electric Power Co., the nation’s top utility, they said.

The Chugoku Electric-led group is considering one of JFE’s steel plants near Tokyo Bay as a prospective site for the plant, the sources said.

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