Nuclear Reactor Project Withdrawal

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Nuclear dreams set back

Taro Koyano and Takeshi Kurihara / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers

NEW YORK–The news that a major U.S. power company would stop investing in a nuclear project with Toshiba Corp. dealt a huge–but maybe expected–blow to Japanese firms that have been working tirelessly with the government to export their nuclear technology.

http://www.nrgenergy.comThe NRG Energy Inc.’s Tuesday announcement is seen as a de facto withdrawal from the project to build two new reactors at the South Texas Project nuclear power station in the wake of the accidents at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The project was one of the largest overseas undertakings by a Japanese firm.

NRG and Toshiba had established a joint venture to build the third and fourth reactors at the nuclear power station. Under the agreement, Toshiba was to provide two advanced boiling water reactors–the latest model that can produce 1.35 million kilowatt-hours each, enough to provide electricity to about 2.5 million households. Tokyo Electric Power Co. had also agreed to invest up to 155 million dollars (12.8 billion yen).

On Tuesday, NRG Chief Executive Officer David Crane said in a phone interview that the Fukushima crisis had totally changed the situation surrounding the project. After the accident, it became unclear whether the firm would be able to secure U.S. government loan guarantees or obtain construction and operating permits this year for the nuclear reactors. The company had planned to begin operating the reactors around 2016.

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