Hancocks Bridge, N.J., May 25, 2010 – PSEG Power and PSEG Nuclear today filed an early site permit application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as part of PSEG’s ongoing efforts exploring the possibility of building an additional nuclear plant.
“This is an important first step in the regulatory process to determine if a new plant is viable,” explained PSEG Power President Bill Levis. “Though it is not a commitment to build, it would determine that the location we have identified for a potential new plant is suitable from a safety, environmental and emergency planning standpoint.”
The preferred location for a potential new nuclear power plant would be adjacent to PSEG Nuclear’s Salem and Hope Creek Generating Stations now in operation in Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County. The site is currently the second largest nuclear facility in the U.S.
An ESP is valid for 20 years and can potentially be renewed for an additional 10 to 20 years. PSEG would need to submit and receive approval from the NRC for a combined operating license to actually construct and operate a new plant.
The application utilizes a plant parameter envelope for the site, acknowledging that a variety of possible plant designs could be accommodated at the proposed location. This will allow PSEG to qualify the site for potential future development without selecting a specific reactor technology.
“Nuclear power is a proven technology and meets our country’s needs for clean central station power that limits our impact on the environment,” said Levis. “Filing an ESP allows us to explore an increased role for nuclear power in combating climate change now and in the future.”
A dedicated nuclear development team has spent the past two and a half years developing the ESP application that is about 4,000 pages. The application’s safety review considers a number of site factors including seismology, hydrology, population distribution and emergency preparedness. The environmental review evaluates the impacts of construction and operation of a nuclear power plant at the proposed site.
As part of PSEG’s outreach to the community, a working group of local elected officials has been formed to begin discussing the potential impacts of a new plant on the local community.
“Though we are early in the regulatory process, our plans to continue exploring a possible new nuclear plant has been well received in the local community,” said Levis. “We value our relationship with our local stakeholders and will continue to keep them informed through this process.”
A new plant would have a major economic impact on Salem County and the entire state of New Jersey. PSEG Nuclear is already Salem County’s largest employer providing more than 1,500 jobs. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a new nuclear plant could generate up to 4,000 jobs during construction and anywhere from 400 to 700 permanent jobs when operational.
As part of the regulatory process, the NRC hosted a public meeting in early May to educate the public on the ESP process. The NRC is expected to take three years to review the ESP application. To date, the agency has issued four ESPs with a fifth application currently under review. PSEG’s application is now the sixth ESP application.
PSEG Nuclear is a part of PSEG Power, an independent power producer and a unit of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated, a diversified energy holding company.
PSEG’s other primary subsidiaries are Public Service Electric and Gas Co., New Jersey’s oldest and largest energy distribution utility company, and PSEG Energy Holdings, a holding company for other non-regulated businesses.