Nuclear plans hurting Texas power companies’ (already poor) credit ratings

Power companies’ plans to pursue new nuclear projects are damaging their credit ratings, which may mean higher costs will be shifted onto ratepayers. In a new report by Moody’s Investors Service titled “New Nuclear Generation: Ratings Pressure Increasing”, the firm raises concerns about investing in new nuclear plants with great risks and capitol costs at a time when national energy policy is uncertain.

Of the 17 proposed reactor projects Moody’s analyzed, two already have obligations rated as speculative or “junk”, and both are in Texas: NRG’s South Texas Project (“questionable credit quality”) and Energy Future Holding’s Comanche Peak (“generally poor credit quality”).

Exelon’s proposed two unit reactor in Victoria was rated as one step above junk status (between Baa1 and Baa3).

“If these guys are already having trouble with their credit ratings, why should Texans mortgage their future building new plants that even the builders can’t finance?,” asks Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office.

Good question.