Toshiba to support new reactors at South Texas Project

09 August 2007

Toshiba has agreed to support NRG Energy and South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) in building two new nuclear power units. STP units 3 and 4 will be 1358 MWe GE-Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs).

NRG owns 44% of STPNOC, with the remainder taken by CPS Energy (40%) and Austin Energy (16%). Together, NRG and STPNOC have signed with Toshiba to benefit from the Japanese company's design, engineering construction and procurement expertise.

While Toshiba today owns the majority of Westinghouse, a nuclear power supplier in competition with GE-Hitachi, it has much experience with ABWRs and has performed as a main contractor on their construction alongside those companies.

NRG has also reserved the major, long-lead-time heavy components for the plant, including the first reactor pressure vessel, to ensure that it is able to achieve commercial operation in 2014. The company plans to apply for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) late in 2007.

Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the most experienced operator of ABWRs, signed in March to be a technical consultant to assist NRG and STPNOC with the project.

The new STP units are part of the company's 'RepoweringNRG' initiative which involves building 10,000 MWe of new, efficient and clean power generation capacity, with an emphasis on low carbon emissions. The company aims to reduce dependence on natural gas and reduce the carbon intensity of its base-load fleet by 20-25%.

The 2006 decision to use ABWRs is the most conservative equipment choice among potential new nuclear build in USA.It reflects the fact that such GE-Hitachi units are well proven, four of them having been operating in Japan for up to ten years, and they have full design certification in USA. NRG Energy said that the "investments will be underpinned by long-term offtake contracts and hedges" as well as equity partners, which will be innovative in the US context.  Most of the rest of the base-load capacity is to be coal-fired. 

Further information

NRG Energy
South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company

WNA's US Nuclear Power Industry information paper
WNN: Tepco advises STP on ABWRs