Contractors in flux for South Texas Project

20 August 2007

Following the 9 August contracting of Toshiba to support plans to construct two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) at South Texas Project, the Japanese company has enrolled Fluor to assist it, signalling fundamental changes in the project. 

Fluor has agreed to support Toshiba in providing 'engineering, procurement and construction-related services' for the two new rea
ctor units. Toshiba will then provide those services, in addition to design work, to NRG Energy, the 44% owner of South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC).

Ron Pitts, senior Vice President of Fluor's nuclear business said: "We have been extremely impressed with Toshiba's experience, capabilities and track record of helping develop and then successfully deliver ABWRs in Japan."

Earlier in the planning of the project it was thought that General Electric (GE), Hitachi and Bechtel would form a team to deliver the reactors. Now it seems that a partnership of Toshiba and Fluor has replaced GE, Hitachi (now combined as GE-Hitachi) and Bechtel.

Toshiba co-developed the ABWR design with GE and worked alongside both GE and Hitachi to construct Kashiwazaki Kariwa 6 and 7. Both would have the right to build ABWRs. However, GE received design certification
 for ABWR from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1997 and GE-Hitachi now asserts rights over the construction of that specific design. Changes to it that would allow Toshiba to construct its own variant are said to be unlikely.

World Nuclear News has learned that project managers consider the ABWRs in question to be "GE ABWRs" and that discussions are underway to determine how GE-Hitachi may take part in a construction project now expected to be led by Toshiba and supported by Fluor.

A Fluor statement outlined NRG's three-step decision-making process. The first phase would see Fluor and Toshiba provide developmental planning, estimating, engineering and procurement of construction-related services. The second phase of actual design, procurement and construction planning is expected to begin in late 2007 and to conclude with the issuance of a construction and operating licence from the NRC. The third phase, which is construction, would then commence immediately.

Further information

South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company

WNN: Toshiba to support new reactors at South Texas Project