Toshiba N-reactor contract for U.S. plant seen as kaput

Apr. 21, 2011

Taro Koyano, Correspondent
Yomiuri Shimbun

NEW YORK–NRG Energy Inc., a leading U.S. utility, announced Tuesday that it would not spend any more money on a project it has been promoting with Toshiba Corp. to build new reactors at the South Texas Project nuclear power station.

The announcement effectively means that NRG has given up on plans to build two additional reactors at the plant. Toshiba had contracted to build the two reactors single-handedly, in what would have been a first for a Japanese nuclear plant maker.

NRG’s decision, which came as Japan has been struggling to deal with a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, will likely deal a great blow to Japan’s joint public-private sector efforts to increase nuclear power plant exports, industry sources said.

NRG and Toshiba jointly established a nuclear development company–Nuclear Innovation North America–in February 2008 to build two new reactors with a combined capacity of 2.7 million kilowatts at the plant, which has two reactors already.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. agreed last year to invest up to 155 million dollars (about 12.8 billion yen) in the Texas project.

But given the crisis at its Fukushima plant, which was crippled in the aftermath the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, TEPCO recently announced a plan to freeze foreign investments.

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