GE Offers Help to Japan for At-risk Reactor

March 14, 2011
Company wll provide technical services and donate $5 million to relief efforts

General Electric, which supplied reactors to Japan's stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, said on March 14 that it was giving emergency advice to the Japanese authorities. "We are offering any technical services to the government of Japan as they go through recovery efforts. We will do whatever we can to help with their energy needs," said GE chief executive Jeff Immelt.

Immelt said GE's aim was to "support the government and people of Japan", adding that the company would donate $5 million to assist with relief efforts.

He declined to comment further on an explosion at the plant north of Tokyo on March 12 that blasted the housing off the GE-made reactor, which was supplied almost 40 years ago. A second explosion hit the plant on March 14.

Immelt, on a business visit to India, said it was "too premature to say" what the impact might be on the nuclear sector globally.

"We are just only 72 hours from this earthquake and tsunami. A lot has yet to be understood," he said.

Analysts say Japan's battle to avert a nuclear disaster could dry up demand for new atomic plants worldwide, putting an end to nuclear companies' hopes of "a nuclear power renaissance" as an alternative to fossil-fuel burning plants.

"We must let events take their course," Immelt said.

GE has a nuclear power generation joint venture alliance with Japan's Hitachi -- GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy -- to supply reactors for nuclear power in Japan and the United States.

Other companies which could suffer if interest in nuclear power collapses include France's Areva, Westinghouse Electric Co, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and state-owned British Nuclear Fuels.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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Agence France-Presse

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