Japan crisis weighs on U.S. reactor plans

March 22, 2011 at 8:17 AM
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NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) -- Plans for nuclear power project near Houston have been reduced while U.S. regulators assess the significance of the Japanese nuclear disaster, companies said.

Nuclear Innovation North America LLC, a joint venture between NRG Energy Inc. and Toshiba Corp., announced it was reducing the scope of development for its South Texas nuclear project about 90 miles southwest of Houston.

This, the companies said, would give the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and others time to examine the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

Japan's nuclear sector was crippled when a magnitude-9 earthquake rocked the country March 11.

NINA President David Crane said the South Texas project is different because it's in an area with a near-zero probability of an earthquake.

"However, as we unreservedly support our government's proposed nuclear safety review, the prudent thing for us to do is to await the outcome of that review before committing more of our own or our partners' capital," Crane said in a statement.

U.S. President Barak Obama last week called for a safety review of nuclear plants in the United States.

The South Texas project companies said they expected new regulatory requirements but believed its reactor designs were among the safest in the industry.

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