18 October 2006 — Toshiba Corp. heralded “the dawn of a new era for nuclear energy” by announcing its acquisition of BNFL USA Group Inc. and Westinghouse UK Limited (collectively Westinghouse). Toshiba expects sales in its nuclear power business to more than quadruple, expanding to 700 billion yen by 2015 and 900 billion yen by 2020, compared with 200 billion yen today.
Toshiba and Westinghouse plan to cooperatively sell its boiling water reactor (BWR) and pressurized water reactor (PWR) technology to a worldwide market. Toshiba said in a statement that it believes there is renewed global interest in nuclear energy, driven by concerns to secure stable electric power supplies, promote conservation and develop environmentally friendly energy technologies.
Public awareness of the need for additional nuclear energy capacity is emerging in the United States and Europe, and in the fast-growing Asian economies. China and other growing economies have already planned new investments in plant construction.
There are currently 439 nuclear power plants in operation worldwide, and demand for nuclear energy is expected to grow. From 2002 to 2020, the global nuclear energy market is expected to grow 130-GW. Toshiba expects the typical plant size to be 1 GW in future.