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Thursday, April 21, 2011

NRG Drops Plans To Build New Nuke Plant In Texas

NRG Energy has decided to drop its plans to build two nuclear reactors in Texas.  This is just another blow to the nuclear renaissance that was projected just a few years ago.  The Center was a proponent of that renaissance.  The Center remains supportive of nuclear power.  Yet, prospects are fading quickly in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Now, NRG's partner, Toshiba Corp., is left to go forward with efforts to garner permission to build reactors at the Texas site from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Toshiba was to furnish the reactors for the project, adjacent to NRG's existing South Texas Project nuclear plant. Foreign companies cannot be majority owners of nuclear power plants in the United States.  So now, Toshiba, like Electricite de France in the Constellation Energy Group debacle, is forced to try to find another USA partner in order to move forward.  Southern Company's Vogle nuclear power plant proposal and SCANA Corp in South Carolina ares the last two nuclear projects proposing to build new nuclear power reactors in the USA.

In addition to using reactors designed by Toshiba, NRG was depending on financial assistance from Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in northeast Japan. The Daiichi plant suffered a series of serious radioactive releases after a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami cut off power to the plant on March 11. (WSJ, 4/20/2011)

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