Federal Nuclear Power Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko and a delegation of Russia's nuclear industry experts visited Japan April 10-12 to hold negotiations with a number of ministers and officials on bilateral cooperation in the nuclear industry, and to discuss intergovernmental arrangements concerning the use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes.
The Yomiuri Shimbun daily said, citing informed sources, that Kiriyenko met with Toshiba executives on Thursday to discuss preparation for talks on the future project, including the location and production volumes.
But during a Thursday news conference in Tokyo, the Russian nuclear chief denied signing any agreements with Japanese companies in the sphere of nuclear industry. He said Russia considers Toshiba as "a prospective partner" along with other Japanese companies.
Commenting on the Yomiuri Shimbun article published April 11, which said that a preliminary agreement on the joint project to build an NPP components plant has been reached, Kiriyenko said the newspaper was "a bit ahead of news," although he did not explicitly deny the possibility.
RIA Novosti could not reach Toshiba officials for further details, but if the deal goes through, Toshiba could become the first Japanese company to manufacture nuclear power plant equipment in a foreign country.
According to the newspaper, Russia plans to build 40 to 60 nuclear power plants in the next 25 years, but it does not have the technology to manufacture key components for the reactors and intends to use Toshiba's technology for this purpose.
Toshiba has recently been expanding its operations overseas. Last year, the company acquired Westinghouse Electric Co., a major U.S. nuclear reactor builder.
The Japanese newspaper suggested that that by establishing close relations with the Russian government and nuclear authorities Toshiba hopes to expand its business in Russia's nuclear sector.
Sergei Kiriyenko earlier said that Japanese, Chinese and South Korean companies could be invited to join a project to build a nuclear power plant in the Russian Far East.