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TURNING JAPANESE? Tokyo Electric to buy 9.2% of South Texas nuclear project

One of the most common criticisms of the Nuclear Renaissance these days is that “we can’t afford it.”  “Wall Street won’t invest,” the argument goes. “It’s too risky and expensive. That’s why it needs government help.”

But there’s a third option that naysayers never consider but is shaping up to be the answer. Foreign countries will invest. That’s what happened this week in Texas.

Tokyo Electric Company – an electric utility, not a nuclear construction company – invested $125 million for a 9.2 percent share of the South Texas project in which Nuclear Innovation North America, a consortium headed by NRG Energy of Princeton, N.J.

The 1,350-megawatt reactor is already being built by Toshiba, which has inherited the Westinghouse nuclear franchise. Tokyo Electric had been offering technical assistance and decided to take a share – an unusual move by American standards. Imagine Southern California Edison taking a share in a reactor in Japan!  They’ve got enough trouble already building useless renewable energy projects to satisfy deluded California politicians.

The deal is both good news and bad news for the American nuclear effort. The good news is foreign countries will provide the needed capital. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Middle Eastern sovereign wealth companies investing soon. This is the way we built the railroads in the early 1800s, mostly with European capital.

The bad news is the U.S. failure to develop nuclear power has put us back where we were in 1820 – a relatively undeveloped country that needs foreign assistance to build its infrastructure. It could be worse. It could be we aren’t building anything at all.

Read more at Business Week

William Tucker

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