San Antonio Mayor: make the nuke plant cheaper or else.

San Antonio’s mayor is threatening to force the city-run utility to pull out of the expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear power plant if cost estimates for the project don’t come down.
CPS Energy, is partnering with New Jersey-based NRG Energy to build two more reactors for about $13 billion, according to estimates from earlier this year. But the main contractor, Toshiba, recently revealed there could be as much as $4 billion more added to the price tag.

[Mayor Julián Castro] said Thursday he wouldn’t wait until January — when the next cost estimate from contractor Toshiba is due — to begin “prudently” withdrawing from the nuclear project if CPS Energy officials fail to deliver news of a better deal Monday.
“I’d like to hear definitely whether or not this falls within the affordability plan articulated by CPS,” he said. “If not, then we move to option B.”

CPS and NRG officials are in Japan this week meeting with Toshiba about the cost issue.
Austin Energy, that city’s municipal utility which is also a partner with CPS and NRG in the two existing South Texas reactors, already dropped out of the expansion. What happens if CPS walks away too?

NRG spokesman David Knox wouldn’t comment on the possibility of CPS Energy pulling out of the deal, but said the company was working hard to bring down the project’s costs.

Perhaps Exelon Corp., which tried so hard to acquire NRG earlier this year and seems unlikely to push ahead with plans for a new nuke near Victoria, would step in as a partner?

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