NuStart Signs DOE Agreement in Support of Advanced Nuclear Plants
NUSTART NEWS RELEASE — Washington — NuStart Energy Development LLC, the consortium of nine nuclear power companies operating 58 percent of the nation’s nuclear power plants and two reactor vendors, has signed a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing process and to complete the designs for the first advanced nuclear power reactors in the U.S. in 30 years.
“America needs nuclear power because it is safe, clean and domestic energy. This Agreement is the next step on the road to a new generation of nuclear energy plants,” said Marilyn Kray, president of NuStart and a vice president of Exelon.
The agreement authorizes the NuStart consortium to participate in a 50-50 cost sharing program with the government to complete the detailed engineering work for two advanced reactor technologies — the Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 Reactor and the General Electric Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor.
NuStart will select two potential nuclear plant sites by October of this year, one for each design.
“We need the energy price stability and fuel diversity that new nuclear plants can provide,” Ms. Kray said. “Our quality of life and that of our children depend on a new generation of nuclear power that does not emit greenhouse gases or other air pollutants.”
The design analyses will be integrated with the characteristics of the selected sites to develop comprehensive applications for a Combined Operating License to be submitted to the NRC. Submittal of the applications is expected in 2008.
After a comprehensive review by the NRC, the two construction and operating licenses could be issued as early as 2010. At that time, the construction and operating licenses could be transferred to a NuStart member company or group of companies who decide to build the new nuclear plant designs.
A decision to build would be based on several factors late this decade, including power market conditions and projections in the area of the proposed plant, competing fuel prices, the regulatory environment at the time, the status of permanent used fuel storage and the ability of nuclear operating companies to obtain financing from Wall Street without adversely affecting their financial credit ratings.
Since construction is expected to take four years, the first new nuclear plants would not begin operation until 2014.
The generic, first-of-a-kind activities to be completed through NuStart will address some of the uncertainties associated with a nuclear investment, and will significantly reduce the time to market for a new nuclear plant. These activities will position the nuclear industry to respond to the anticipated need for more nuclear generation.
The agreement was signed under the DOE’s Nuclear Power 2010 program, designed to encourage new nuclear plant investment. The current cost of the NuStart project is $520 million with the NuStart consortium and the DOE each paying $260 million.
Members of NuStart Energy consortium are:
- Constellation Energy, Baltimore
- Duke Energy, Charlotte
- EDF International North America, Washington, D.C., the U.S. subsidiary of the large French electric utility
- Entergy Nuclear, Jackson, Miss.
- Exelon Generation, Philadelphia
- Florida Power & Light Company, Juno Beach, Fla.
- Progress Energy, Raleigh, N.C.
- Southern Company, Atlanta
- Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, Tenn.
- GE Energy, Atlanta
- Westinghouse Electric Co., Pittsburgh