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Japan takes tentative step toward jointly run nuclear plants

Broad deal teams plant builders Toshiba and Hitachi with Fukushima utility

Tepco's inability to restart its workhorse Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, pictured here, has hampered the utility's earnings. (Photo by Moriya Isogai)

TOKYO -- Four of the biggest names in Japan's nuclear industry agreed on Wednesday to explore joint operations as each player struggles with the risk of building or running reactors on its own.

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