HOUSTON Nov 8 Dallas-based Luminant, a unit of
privately held Energy Future Holdings Corp, will
suspend work to obtain approval to build two new nuclear
reactors in North Texas, the company said in a letter to
Citing a decision by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to
shift its focus to the restart of nuclear power plants in Japan
rather than U.S. nuclear development, Luminant officials
"concluded that it does not make sense to continue to expend
Luminant or NRC resources" on the license application for
Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4, according to a
letter sent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In 2008, Luminant filed an application with the NRC for two
Mitsubishi 1,700-megawatt U.S. Advanced Pressurized Water
Reactors (APWR) to be built at the existing two-unit Comanche
Peak nuclear station in North Texas.
The Mitsubishi design required NRC certification prior to
Luminant obtaining a license to move forward to build the new
Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems this said it was committed
to obtaining the NRC certification for its USAPWR design "under
an extended schedule," according to a release.
Luminant's decision to suspend work on the new reactors
follows similar action by other power companies.
With the high cost of nuclear construction, the low cost of
natural gas and stagnating power demand, analysts expect no new
reactors to be built in the United States for several years,
other than those already under construction in Georgia, South
Carolina and Tennessee.
Earlier this year, Duke Energy, the largest U.S.
electric utility, dropped plans to build new nuclear reactors,
two in North Carolina and one in Florida, citing slow growth in
power demand and regulatory delay.
Luminant is the largest power generating company in Texas.
Its parent, Energy Future Holdings, is working to restructure
debt taken on in a 2007 leveraged buyout.