Japan to lend up to $4bn for NRG Energy's Texas nuclear plant project
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) plans to lend up to $4bn to fund a nuclear plant project in Texas, which would be the country’s first state financing for an atomic power station abroad.
According to Bloomberg, government-run JBIC will probably offer a loan provided that the project is guaranteed by the US government, said Tadashi Maeda, head of the bank’s corporate planning department. The loan may be as large as $4bn, said Toshiro Kudama, an official at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which has an accord to invest in the initiative.
The $10bn programme led by NRG Energy will use reactors made by Toshiba, the Japanese company that bought Westinghouse Electric in 2006. A loan deal would encourage utilities to boost investment in nuclear projects abroad, in line with Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s goal of exporting infrastructure technology to spur the economy.
TEPCO is holding talks with JBIC on a loan for the Texas project, aiming to sign a preliminary financing agreement in 2012, Kudama, executive general manager of the utility’s international affairs department, said in an interview.
Nuclear Innovation North America LLC, a joint venture between Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG Energy and Tokyo-based Toshiba, plans to add two 1350 MW reactors in Texas at a cost of $10bn or less, with commercial operations slated to begin in 2016 and 2017. Nuclear Innovation Chief Executive Officer Steve Winn has said the partners applied for about $7bn in US federal loan guarantees and as much as $4bn of Japanese aid.
Maeda said JBIC may team up with commercial lenders to offer a loan covering about half the Texas project cost, without elaborating. The venture’s cost estimate is preliminary, he said.