Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi in final talks to merge nuclear units

Hitachi Ltd <6501.T> , Toshiba Corp <6502.T> and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd <7011.T> are in final talks to merge their nuclear fuel businesses as early as spring, the Nikkei business daily reported.

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The merger is expected to keep the nuclear operations of these companies afloat, even though most of Japan's nuclear reactors remain idle, the Japanese business daily reported. (

The integration would let the trio cut costs by streamlining manufacturing bases and other related operations, the Nikkei reported.

All the three companies could not be reached for comment.

A March 2011 earthquake and tsunami had triggered meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco) <9501.T> Fukushima Daiichi plant, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The meltdowns in three Fukushima reactors spewed radiation over a wide area of the countryside, contaminating water, food and air. More than 160,000 people were evacuated from nearby towns.

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Since the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government has implemented stricter safety regulations on nuclear plant operators, leaving many reactors idle.

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)