Allentown, PA, Sept. 29, 2008 — PPL Corp. has taken another step in the ongoing evaluation and development of a new nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa., with the submittal of an application to the U.S. Department of Energy for a federal loan guarantee.
The new plant, which would be called Bell Bend, would be sited near the company’s existing two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power plant, a facility with a 25-year history of operations.
“Federal loan guarantees are essential to Bell Bend and other nuclear power projects around the country,” said William H. Spence, PPL executive vice president and COO.
The federal loan guarantee program was authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support projects that avoid greenhouse gas emissions and employ new technologies. It is intended that all costs of the program be paid by the industry at no cost to taxpayers.
“Without federal loan guarantees,” Spence said, “companies like PPL will not be able to secure financing for the substantial cost of building new, advanced-design nuclear energy plants that will help this country achieve challenging limits on carbon dioxide emissions, as well as energy independence.”
Congress has appropriated $18.5 billion for the federal loan guarantee program.
PPL will submit a second part of the loan guarantee application as required before the Dec. 19, 2008, deadline. PPL also is preparing an application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a combined license to build and operate Bell Bend. The company expects to file that application later this year.
PPL has not yet made a final decision to move forward with construction of the Bell Bend plant. That decision won’t be made for at least several years, and will depend on several key factors, including a federal loan guarantee and the company’s view of the power market fundamentals at that time, Spence said. Other factors are obtaining an NRC license and attracting additional investors.
PPL has chosen the Evolutionary Power Reactor from AREVA of France. Plants using this technology already are under construction in Finland, France and China. It is estimated that the Bell Bend plant would produce 1,600 megawatts of electricity.
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