April 11 The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission's judicial arm ruled in favor of the group looking to
build two new reactors at the South Texas nuclear power plant in
Texas on the issue of foreign ownership, NRG Energy Inc
said on Friday.
Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA), which is 90 percent
owned by New Jersey-based NRG and 10 percent owned by Toshiba
Corp of Japan, wants to build the new reactors.
However, Toshiba has an option to acquire up to 90 percent
ownership of NINA, which the NRC staff determined could give
Toshiba an 85 percent ownership interest in the new reactors.
NINA has been battling staff at the NRC over the issue of
foreign ownership since soon after NRG said it would no longer
invest additional capital in the project due to U.S. regulatory
uncertainty in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in
Japan in March 2011.
Foreign companies cannot control nuclear plants in the
"This ruling clears one of the last remaining items
necessary for issuance of a combined license" for the proposed
new reactors, said Mark McBurnett, president and chief executive
officer of NINA.
Officials at the NRC were not immediately available to
The South Texas plant has two existing 1,280-megawatt
reactors. In 2007, the South Texas owners applied with the NRC
to add two Toshiba 1,350-MW Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at a
cost of at least $17 billion.
The two operating reactors are owned by NRG (44 percent),
the City of San Antonio's CPS Energy utility (40 percent) and
the City of Austin's Austin Energy (16 percent).
The NRC has said it will not make any final reactor license
decisions anywhere in the nation until at least late 2014 due to
issues surrounding the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Lisa