Unistar Nuclear Energy (UNE) and PPL Corp have agreed to prepare and submit a combined construction and operating licence (COL) application for a potential third reactor at PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.
The application - which will be submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the fourth quarter of 2008 - will be based on Areva's US Evolutionary Power Reactor (USEPR) design.
In July, UNE submitted a partial COL application to the NRC to construct and operate a potential third reactor at Constellation Energy's Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland. The full application, which Unistar plans to submit in the first quarter of 2008, will serve as the reference document for the PPL COL application and all future Unistar COL applications.
The project is being developed by a PPL subsidiary, PPL Nuclear Development LLC, which, along with Unistar, is evaluating preliminary tests already performed to determine suitability of the proposed location.
PPL joins a growing list of energy companies, including Constellation Energy, Electricite de France (EDF), AmerenUE, Alternate Energy Holdings Inc (AEHI) and Amarillo Power, which are pursuing new nuclear power plants based on Areva's USEPR technology.
William Spence, PPL's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said that the company has yet to decide to actually construct a new reactor at the Susquehanna site. He said, "PPL would not undertake nuclear construction alone. Because of the large capital commitment required, we would proceed with nuclear construction only as part of some type of joint venture arrangement." PPL is in talks regarding possible joint venture arrangements.
"Given the growing concerns about global climate change and the rising need for new power plants in the Northeast region, it makes sense for PPL to pursue a licence for a third nuclear unit - for the benefit of electricity users in the mid-Atlantic region and for the shareowners of PPL," Spence said.
PPL's two existing nuclear units, totalling 2360 MWe, are owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna and Allegheny Electric Cooperative, and are operated by PPL Susquehanna.
UNE is a 'strategic joint venture' formed in July by Constellation Energy and Electricite de France (EdF) to operate new nuclear power plants in both the USA and Canada. The venture aims to 'develop, own and operate' a possible standardized fleet of reactors envisaged by the Unistar scheme, itself a joint venture between Constellation and France's national nuclear technology company Areva.
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