Six Japanese companies established a joint venture on Tuesday to propose new nuclear projects abroad. The companies are Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), Chubu Electric, Kansai Electric, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

MHI said in a statement that the Japanese joint venture would tentatively be named “International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan.” Official launch of the company is scheduled for the fall of 2010.

The move follows a recommendation by Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry in May that a company be created to support Japanese exports of nuclear power technology and knowledge. The ministry was reacting to the December 2009 award of a four-reactor nuclear project to a South Korean group of companies by the United Arab Emirates.

In June, prior to the establishment of a formal company, the group had formed a planning committee to secure nuclear power plant orders from Vietnam. That country’s government recently announced it was planning construction of 13 nuclear reactors by 2030, a combined capacity of 15 GW.

The decision to set up the office now, before launching the corporate entity itself, was made "to ensure the swift execution of the promotion activities," the Japanese consortium said.

The consortium that won the first nuclear project awarded by a Gulf nation in December—and reportedly the first South Korean export of a nuclear plant—includes state-run South Korean utility Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO), Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Samsung C&T Corp., Doosan Heavy Industries, and U.S. Westinghouse.

On Tuesday, in a related story, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., South Korea’s biggest power-equipment maker, signed a record $3.9 billion contract to provide nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The company said in a statement that it would use its own technology to design, manufacture and supply the nuclear steam supply system and turbine assemblies for the four 1,400-MW-class power plants. The plants will be completed one by one in phases beginning in 2017, at a site near Abu Dhabi, Doosan said.

Sources: MHI, Doosan, POWERnews