Hitachi, GE Submit Proposal to Dismantle Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Hitachi Ltd. (6501) and General Electric Co. (GE) submitted a plan to dismantle the crippled Fukushima Dai- Ichi plant they helped build as Japanese engineers battle to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

The proposal, which also involves Exelon Corp. (EXC) and Bechtel Corp., was submitted April 8, said Yuichi Izumisawa, a Tokyo- based spokesman at Hitachi, Japan’s second-largest maker of nuclear reactors. He declined to specify details of the plan.

The Hitachi-led proposal will vie against plans from groups led by Toshiba Corp. (6502) and Areva SA (CEI) as Tokyo Electric Power Co. begins preparing to clean up a nuclear disaster that’s led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. Decommissioning the reactors may take three decades and cost more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion) to complete, engineers and analysts say.

“It’s unclear how much the contract will be worth but it’s going to be a large amount given it would take decades to complete,” said Yuichi Ishida, a Tokyo-based analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co. “This isn’t an ordinary dismantling.”

Hitachi rose 0.3 percent to 401 yen at the midday break in Tokyo trading. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.1 percent.

Rival Groups

Toshiba’s group, which includes Babcock & Wilcox Co. (BWC) and Shaw Group Inc. (SHAW), submitted a plan on April 4 that would take 10 years or more to complete, spokesman Keisuke Ohmori said last week. Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Co., Babcock & Wilcox and Shaw were involved in the decommissioning of the Three Mile Island plant, he said. Toshiba, Japan’s largest maker of nuclear reactors, also helped build the Fukushima reactors.

Areva, the world’s biggest maker of nuclear reactors, plans to submit a proposal, Jacques Besnainou, chief executive of the Paris-based company’s U.S. subsidiary, said this week.

Hitachi’s U.S. partners were also involved in the cleanup work at Three Mile Island and the 1986 Chernobyl incident, the company said yesterday.

At Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island in 1979, one reactor partially melted in the worst U.S. accident, taking $973 million to repair and almost 12 years to clean up, according to a report on the World Nuclear Association’s website. More than 1,000 workers were involved in designing and conducting the cleanup operation, the report said.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency yesterday raised the severity rating of its nuclear crisis to 7, the highest and matching the Chernobyl disaster. The accident was previously rated a 5 on the global scale, the same as the Three Mile Island meltdown.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net. Maki Shiraki in Tokyo at mshiraki1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net.

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