WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest consortium of nuclear power companies has selected Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and Bellefonte Nuclear Plant as the sites it will use on applications for combined construction and operating licenses for new nuclear plants, the first in 30 years.
Grand Gulf, owned by an Entergy subsidiary, is near Port Gibson, Miss. Bellefonte, owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is near Scottsboro, Ala.
“The need for new, advanced nuclear energy plants that are safe, clean, dependable and can generate electric energy without emitting air pollutants is growing more evident every day,” said Marilyn Kray, president of NuStart Energy Development LLC.
“Our country needs these advanced nuclear plants. We must reduce our dependence on imported foreign energy. Americans want affordable energy and a clean environment without risking climate change.”
Grand Gulf was designated for the General Electric Economic Simplified Boiling Water reactor design. Bellefonte will be used for the Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 reactor design.
Today’s announcement concludes a four-month evaluation process since NuStart announced its six finalist candidate sites last May.
NuStart was pleasantly surprised by overwhelmingly positive responses from state and local governments to NuStart’s Request for Information sent in May at the beginning of the evaluation process. Local leaders in all six finalist areas offered significant governmental support to a new plant in their areas.
“Each local community near the six finalist sites wants a new nuclear plant. We sincerely appreciate the offers of support from each of the six areas,” said the NuStart president.
No NuStart member company has made a decision to build yet, but a new nuclear plant would bring considerable economic benefits – about 2,000 construction jobs for a four-year period, then 250-400 professional permanent jobs to operate and maintain the new plant.
Kray said NuStart will prepare two COL applications, one for the GE design and one for the Westinghouse design, but is currently funded by DOE to submit to NRC only one of the two. NuStart has a request pending at DOE that would permit NuStart to submit both applications. “We want competition and some selectivity,” she said.
The next step is for NuStart to begin detailed engineering and environmental work of the two respective reactor technologies at their designated sites in support of the applications for a combined COL which NuStart will file with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in late 2007 or early 2008.
After an estimated two-year review, the NRC could issue in 2010 its first COL for a new nuclear power plant in 30 years. Then any NuStart member company or group of companies could take over the approved NuStart license in 2010 and use it to build that reactor. Construction is expected to take four years so the earliest that the first new nuclear plant could startup would be about 2014.
The NuStart work is being funded under the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Power 2010 program to kickstart new nuclear energy construction. The federal government is sharing 50-50 the cost of the detailed engineering with NuStart.
The other four sites studied by NuStart were River Bend Station at St. Francisville, La., Savannah River Site owned by the Department of Energy near Aiken, S.C., Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant in Scriba, N.Y., and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in southern Maryland.
Also today, Entergy announced it will prepare its own Construction and Operating License for its River Bend Station in St. Francisville, La.
Constellation Energy of Baltimore withdrew its Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant site in southern Maryland and its Nine Mile Point nuclear plant in Oswego, N.Y., from the NuStart finalist list after recently announcing a new joint venture with AREVA.
Kray stressed that all six finalist sites are excellent locations for an advanced nuclear unit from a financial and technical standpoint and likely will eventually be chosen for a new nuclear plant.