Tokyo, June 25, 2007 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has established a new company, "Mitsubishi FBR Systems, Inc." (MFBR) that engages in the development of fast breeder reactors (FBR). MFBR will start its operation on July 1, 2007. The establishment of the new company is based on that MHI was selected in April 2007 to serve as the core company in FBR development in Japan. In order to concentrate on development and integrally conduct effective management of engineering activities, MHI created the new company as an independent firm dedicated to FBR development. MFBR will take charge of coordinating all activities geared to FBR development, including conceptual designing of the demonstration reactor and commercial reactor, targeting its completion in 2015, and order placement of new technologies for innovation to manufacturers. The company is also targeted to play a major role in international collaboration in FBR development.
MFBR, to be located in Tokyo (Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku), is capitalized at 100 million yen. Initially, MHI holds total equity, but investment by electricity providers will be accepted in the future. The new company will start with 50 employees but expand to 160 by 2015. Keizo Okada, General Manage of Nuclear Systems Engineering Department, MHI, serves as president.
FBRs use liquid-metal sodium for the reactor coolant and are able to generate more fuel than they consume; this is achieved through burn-up of uranium and plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel using fast neutrons. The Japanese government has designated the FBR to become the main nuclear power generation system of the 21st century, superseding light-water reactors. To date, the government has undertaken various activities toward FBR development, including the achievement of an experimental fast reactor "Joyo" (initial criticality in 1977) and of a prototype fast reactor "Monju" (criticality in 1994).
MHI has been actively engaged in FBR development since the 1960s as a core activity of its nuclear power business. In recognition of the company's rich experience and acclaim in FBR development, on April 18 this year MHI was selected to serve as the core company in FBR development by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. The delegation of a core company was aimed at effectively promoting FBR development under a structure incorporating clear delineation of responsibility and authority.
Going forward, succeeding FBR technology MHI has developed and in tandem with MHI that is the core company in FBR development, MFBR will proactively engage in FBR development based on Japan's development policy toward construction of a demonstration reactor for launching by 2025 and the first commercial reactor for introduction by 2050, with the ultimate aim to supersede light water reactors.