In my most recent Global Growth report I noted that Japan’s major nuclear reactor manufacturers have begun developing small nuclear power systems for both developed and emerging countries. Toshiba is developing an ultra-compact reactor with an output of about 10,000 kilowatts and has started procedures for approval in the U.S., while foreseeing demand from emerging countries in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and even Africa.
This new reactor, the Toshiba 4S, is designed to minimize the need for monitoring and maintenance, with an automatic shutdown function to ensure safety in case of problems. Toshiba plans to market the reactor first in the U.S., while foreseeing demand from emerging countries in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe as well as in Africa.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has separately completed the concept design for a pressurized-water reactor with a power output of around 350,000 kilowatts. Hitachi (HIT), also aims to develop a boiling-water reactor with a capacity of 400,000 to 600,000 kilowatts for use in Southeast Asia and other countries.
Demand for nuclear power stations have been growing around the world and a total of 151 nuclear power plants were under construction or slated for construction in 27 countries as of the end of 2008.