Hitachi, Toshiba and GE will consolidate their nuclear fuel operations. They will set up a joint venture this year to develop, manufacture and market nuclear fuel for power plants.

The move is an extension of cooperation already established. The new company will be created by combining an existing joint venture, Japan Nuclear Fuel Co, with GE’s nuclear fuel plant in North Carolina. Design, manufacture, sales and other operations will be transferred from the existing to the new company.

The three companies hold over 40 per cent of the nuclear fuel business in Japan and 70 per cent of the boiling water reactor business. The proposed cooperation has been approved by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission.