6 May 2013

US Ownership Rules Hurdle for South Texas Project

On 29 April 2013 the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) put a break on plans for the construction of two reactors at the South Texas Project (STP). The proposal was to build two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at STP, through a company called Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA). NINA was originally a joint venture between Toshiba American Nuclear Energy Corporation (TANE) and US company NRG. However, following Fukushima, NRG, pulled out of the project and according to the NRC letter to NINA “that, although TANE owns about 10 percent of NINA, its overwhelming financial contributions give it significantly more power than is reflected by this ownership stake”. According to Brett Jarmer, an attorney for a coalition of groups opposing the license, “Federal law is clear that foreign controlled corporations are not eligible to apply for a license to build and operate nuclear power plants. The evidence is that Toshiba is in control of the project and this precludes obtaining an NRC license for South Texas Project 3 & 4”. This is the second project in less than a year that has run into trouble due to issues of foreign ownership, in November 2012 EDF’s project as Calvert Cliffs was terminated by the NRC (see EDF’s US Calvert Cliffs 3 Project ’Terminated’”).