The ambitious plan to double the size of the South Texas Nuclear Project, already in trouble over cost concerns, has been abandoned "as a result of the ongoing nuclear incident in Japan," its owner announced today.
NRG Energy, owner of the plant, said "while it will cooperate with and support its current partners and any prospective future partners in attempting to develop STP successfully, NRG will not invest additional capital in the STP development effort."
It's a big victory for those who opposed the expansion and, of course, a blow for those who think nuclear power is the way to go semi-green these days.
The project had been in trouble even before the Japanese disaster; the city of Houston had never gotten on board with it, the city of Austin bailed out, and San Antonio wavered on its participation.
Still, NRG thought it had procured enough federal funding, and a possible Japanese partnership, to make it a go.
"The tragic nuclear incident in Japan has introduced multiple uncertainties around new nuclear development in the United States which have had the effect of dramatically reducing the probability that STP can be successfully developed in a timely fashion," said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG. "We continue to believe both in the absolute necessity of a U.S. nuclear renaissance and that STP is the best new nuclear development project in the country bar none. However, the extraordinary challenges facing U.S. nuclear development in the present circumstance and the very considerable financial resources expended by NRG on the project over the past five years make it impossible for us to justify to our shareholders any further financial participation in the development of the STP project."
NRG will take a pretax charge of almost a half-billion dollars for the first quarter of the year, for all you CPA nerdniks out there.