A joint venture company has been established by Luminant and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to support the construction of the latter's advanced pressurized water reactor at Comanche Peak in Texas.
The companies' move is in line with statements made in December 2008 when they submitted a combined construction and operating license application for the two new reactors they want to build at Comanche Peak. The 1700 MWe APWRs should begin operation before 2020.
The joint venture, to be called Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Company, will be 88% owned by Luminant and 12% by MHI and represents a new model for funding the final stages of new reactor deployment - in which the reactor vendor and buyer share project development costs. The joint venture would operate until the point at which a licence to build and operate the units is issued.
Although MHI has supplied large nuclear power components to US companies before, it has never sold its own-design nuclear power systems in the country. MHI has set up a US-based subsidiary and an American-specific version of the APWR was accepted by safety authority the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for review in March 2008. The US version of the reactor will have a capacity of 1700 MWe, compared with 1538 MWe for the Japanese version, two of which are planned at Japan Atomic Power Co's Tsuruga site in Fukui prefecture. The design is the most powerful of all on the global market and boasts a neutron reflector meant to increase fuel burn-up and enable the units to go 24 months between refuellings. "The US-APWR is the right technology, MHI is the right partner and this joint development is the right commercial focus for our team," said Mike Blevins, Luminant executive vice president and chief nuclear officer last year.
A September 2008 analysis of the positive effects of the Comanche Peak project on local employment was conducted by the Perryman Group. The CEO of that firm, Ron Perryman, said at the time: "While specific construction costs are not yet available, the projected economic stimulus would be more than $22 billion dollars in expected economic development and more than 104,700 person-years of employment for the region."