What’s the deal with the $3.4B gas-cooling nuclear plant?
In the weeks leading up to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the utility company Entergy was under scrutiny for a contract that had been awarded to the state-owned Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in 2015.
Entergy had signed a $3 billion contract with the agency to construct a large, $7 billion plant to cool the plant.
But Entergy did not disclose the deal to the public until February 2016.
The contract for the project was awarded to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which then went bankrupt and was sold to a consortium of Japanese investors, including Tokyo’s private equity group, Tokyo Dome Holdings, which had been acquired by the Tokyo Electric Corporation (TEK).
According to the Japan Times, the deal between Entergy and TEPCO had a price tag of $1.6 billion.
As of December 2017, the contract was worth $2.2 billion.
The $2 billion price tag was for the nuclear cooling system, which consisted of four reactors that would be cooled by a combined 400 MW of electricity.
The remaining cooling capacity was to be constructed by two of Entergy’s three nuclear power plants.
In December 2016, the company announced that the system had reached full operational capacity.
In March 2017, TEK announced that it was closing its plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
The company announced in March that it would not seek a waiver of the safety requirements of the nuclear safety review.
A TEK press release noted that it had already begun to retire four of its reactors and retire all of its remaining nuclear plants.
The press release stated that “the TEK Nuclear Safety Review is under a review to determine whether the nuclear energy industry can proceed with the development of nuclear power, and it is expected that TEK will report on its assessment in late 2019.
The release continued, “the nuclear safety issues have been reviewed by the TEK Council of Directors.”
The announcement was made in the same breath as the announcement that TEPCo would be shutting down its remaining four reactors by 2021.
According to The New York Times, Entergy has already signed a contract with Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corporation to develop the facility and to build a plant to store the fuel.
Mitsubishis nuclear power plant is slated to begin commercial operations in 2021.
TEK was awarded the contract for both of the two reactors.
This nuclear cooling plant, which has been constructed and has been operating since 2020, has been shut down.
The announcement of a contract between Entergys utility and TEK to construct an electricity plant is a first in Japanese nuclear safety history.
With the TEPCOs shutdown, the Japanese government was able to save about $600 million by reopening TEK.
TEK had previously announced in 2016 that it planned to shut down all its nuclear reactors in 2020.
Although the nuclear power industry in Japan is in a dire financial state, there is a large amount of money to be made in restarting the nuclear reactors, which is why the government is continuing to fund the construction of the new plants.
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