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South Texas Project Development Slowed to Await Guidance on Nuclear Generation Regulatory Requirements
South Texas Project Development Slowed to Await Guidance on Nuclear Generation Regulatory Requirements | NRG, NINA, nuclear, earthquake, tsunami, hou_txbz, Bay City, corp_chr_txbz

South Texas Project

Texas Business reports:  Nuclear Innovation North America LLC (NINA), the nuclear development company jointly owned by NRG Energy Inc. and Toshiba Corporation is reducing the scope of development units 3 and 4 at the South Texas Project   expansion to allow time for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other nuclear stakeholders to assess the lessons that can be learned from the events in Japan.

Continuing work on units 3 and 4  will be limited to work related to licensing and securing the federal loan guarantee upon which the project depends.

 “Our hearts go out to the Fukushima plant operators who have acted heroically to control the crisis in Japan, and NRG and our partners stand squarely behind new nuclear power as the most important component in our transition to a low-carbon economy,” said David Crane, chairman of of NINA and chief executive of NRG Energy in a prepared statement. “However, our best course of action in this immediate period of uncertainty is to minimize project spend, continue with those activities we can control and wait until there is more information upon which we can base our long-term decisions. This is the financially disciplined course of action in uncertain and challenging times.”

The decision to reduce the scope of permitting and development activities was made jointly by NRG, Toshiba and NINA.

“Since STP is very differently situated from the stricken nuclear plant in Japan – ten miles from the Gulf of Mexico, in a non-seismic area with hardened watertight protection around both its backup generation and its spent fuel storage facilities – it is not obvious to us that any modifications are necessary to regulatory requirements applicable to either our existing or planned nuclear facilities,” said Crane.  “However, as we unreservedly support our government’s proposed nuclear safety review, the prudent thing for us to do is to await the outcome of that review before committing more of our own or our partners’ capital.”

NRG remains committed to the timeframe previously established for making key decisions on the Company’s continuing involvement with the development of units 3 and 4.

 The Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) units operational in Japan were not damaged by the massive Japanese earthquake and continued operating. Nuclear units closer to the epicenter of the earthquake than Fukushima, and located on the ocean, but using more modern designs and safety equipment, similar to the systems used in ABWR units, shut down safely following the earthquake and tsunami.

 

“We are confident that the proven Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) being licensed for the STP expansion is the safest nuclear technology in operation today,” said Steve Winn, president of NINA, in a statement.

Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA) is a partnership between NRG and Toshiba focused on developing new nuclear expansion projects using Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) technology—the only advanced nuclear technology certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that has been built on time and on budget. NINA is currently developing the 2,700 megawatt South Texas Project expansion with San Antonio’s CPS Energy and the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company. NINA is also exploring other development opportunities to employ ABWR in additional projects across North America.  

 NRG Energy, Inc. is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company that owns and operates one of the country’s largest power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, the company’s power plants provide nearly 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity—enough to supply nearly 20 million homes. NRG’s retail businesses, Reliant Energy and Green Mountain Energy Company, combined serve more than 1.8 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers.