The company is targeting $4.5 billion (360 billion yen) in sales by fiscal year 2020, up from $1.5 billion (120 billion yen) in 2011, according to a management plan it released last week.
The growth projection is notable coming from a company in Japan, where the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused the evacuation of some 200,000 people and led to a temporary shutdown of all 54 nuclear stations. Reactors melted down after a devastating tsunami knocked out generators that powered Fukushima Daiichi's cooling systems.
But Hitachi is not counting on domestic growth. In a presentation accompanying its management plan, it said it would "accelerate overseas development of the nuclear power systems business," and that it is a positioning nuclear power "as an effective source of energy for curbing CO2 emissions to meet continuing global demand."
MarketWatch reported that Hitachi will benefit from "cashing in on an expected rise in worldwide demand" for nuclear power (The article misstates the sales prediction as millions instead of billions).
Countries includingand plan to expand nuclear's contribution to their energy sources. to help it secure a nuclear future.
Hitachi develops and sells nuclear reactors and services through its partnership with General Electric, called General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). GEH is developing a safer form of its conventional boiling water reactor, and is also developing an alternative reactor known as a fast neutron reactor (FNR) which would burn plutonium waste from other reactors and thus represent a method for both generating power and eliminating a dangerous byproduct.
GEH calls its FNR "PRISM" and bases it on the Experimental Breeder Reactor II that the U.S. operated until 1994 in Idaho.
FNRs have been historically difficult to run safely. Bill Gates TerraPower is developing a type of FNR called a traveling wave reactor. San Diego's General Atomics is also developing one called the Energy Multiplier Module.
A number of otherare emerging that could challenge conventional water-cooled, uranium fueled reactors. They include (GEH has never answered my inquiries as to whether they're researching thorium). Japanese utility as a safe nuclear alternative.
A handful of startup companies including, the elusive holy grail of energy generation.
In its management plan, Hitachi also said it is participating in the decommissioning of Fukushima, and that it is developing safety features for Japanese nuclear plants.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last weekend ordered the restart of two nuclear reactors. Before the nationwide shutdowns, nuclear had provided 30 percent of the country's electricity.
Photo: Argonne National Laboratory - West, via Wikimedia.
An explosion of nuclear insights on SmartPlanet:
An alternative nuclear update:
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com