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Toshiba to build new nuclear engineering facility

As nuclear power expands, someone has to make the parts.

With global interest in nuclear power rising, Toshiba said on Monday that it will construct a new nuclear power engineering facility for designing and testing technology for nuclear plants at the Isogo Nuclear Engineering Center (IEC) in Yokohama, Japan.

After the new facility is built, Toshiba will employ around 3,000 people at IEC.

Construction will start in February 2008, and the facility is scheduled to be complete by March 2009 or earlier. The facility will be able to withstand a 6.8 quake. The builders will also insert anti-liquefaction measures to keep the facility from sinking during a quake.

While it remains controversial, nuclear power seems to be gaining greater acceptance with the advent of global warming. Nuclear plants do not emit greenhouse gases. On the other hand, you have nuclear disposal issues. Scientists, however, are looking at ways to get rid of it, other than stuffing it into the ground. One idea: bind the spent fuel to other chemicals or recycle nuclear material to extract more energy.

In the United States, 17 organizations are expected to file permits to build and operate nuclear plants in the next few years. The first were recently filed. At this rate, a new nuclear plant may appear in the U.S. by 2015, according to Frank Bowman, CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.