TXU choose Mitsubishi for new reactors

14 March 2007

US energy giant TXU has chosen Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' (MHI's) advanced pressurized water reactor (US-APWR) design for its new build plans. Comanche Peak in Texas is a likely site for two new reactor units.

MHI made the announcement today that TXU had finally selected the US-APWR and would begin preparation of a combined Construction and Operating Licence for new plants which would be submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.

TXU was said to be considering 2000-6000 MWe of new nuclear capacity at up to three sites, but it remains unclear how many US-APWRs the company is really considering. Nikkei Business Daily reported that an order would be worth $5.2 billion, which would equate to two of the 1700 MWe units at the industry-standard cost of $1500 per installed MWe.

MHI say that its output of 1700 MWe makes the US-APWR the largest nuclear generation unit available to order. It has a thermal efficiency of 39% - the highest of any nuclear unit - and a neutron reflector around the US-APWR's core helps to increase fuel economy to achieve a 24-month refuelling cycle. The design is a development of the 1538 MWe Tsuruga 3 and 4 units under construction in Japan. MHI have made a submission to the NRC for design certification and say "good progress" is being made and "that will be conducted through the end of 2007."

TXU recently announced the cancellation of eight large coal-fired power stations as part of a private equity takeover and change in environmental policy. Its plans for the 6000 MWe nuclear capacity mentioned above remained unchanged.

A likely site for TXU's new reactors would be its only current nuclear site, Comanche Peak in Texas, which hosts two 1150 MWe pressurized water reactors. Mitsubishi expect to partner with Washington Group for American construction projects and say that new units could provide power to the grid around the 2015-2020 timeframe.

Further information

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Washington Group

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

WNA's US Nuclear Power Industry information paper

WNN: TXU going green in $45 billion deal