New Nuclear Power Plants
The African American Environmentalist Association has participated in the three Early Site Permit (ESP) hearings sponsored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). AAEA also attended the Combined Operating License (COL) meeting between Duke Power and NRC. Specific nuclear reactor manufacturers and descriptions of these activities are below.
Consortia Want To Build New Nuclear Plants
Seven companies have announced they will file a joint license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a new nuclear power plant: Chicago-based Exelon, Entergy Nuclear, a unit of New Orleans-based Entergy; Baltimore-based Constellation Energy; Atlanta-based Southern Co.; EDF International North America; and two nuclear reactor manufacturers, General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. It has been 30 years since an application has been filed to build a plant that later went into operation. Other applications were received after 1974, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but were withdrawn or the plants never began operating. Utilities are considering building or restarting up to eight reactors in Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and Idaho, as well as in Illinois. One of the sites being looked at is the Savannah River nuclear site in South Carolina. Another potential site is the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory near Idaho Falls. The Energy Department controls both properties.
The companies have not committed to building a new plant but aim to test the NRC's streamlined licensing process, implemented in 1992. The companies hope to file the application in 2008 and get an NRC decision in 2010. They say their actions follow a Department of Energy initiative last fall to develop nuclear power plants. Nustart has already won a commitment of $260 million from the Energy Department to complete plant design. The original request was for $400 million.
Under another consortium, NuStart Energy Development applied for a smaller grant to study building an advanced reactor on the site of a twin-reactor project abandoned in 1988 as too expensive. NuStart includes the Tennessee Valley Authority, Duke Power, Exelon Nuclear, a unit of the Exelon Corporation; Entergy Nuclear, a unit of the Entergy Corporation; Constellation Energy; Southern Company; EDF International North America, a subsidiary of Ã‰lectricitÃ© de France, which owns shares in reactors in the United States, manufacturers of nuclear reactors such as General Electric and the Westinghouse Electric Company, a subsidiary of BNFL, which was formerly British Nuclear Fuels Limited. NuStart is applying for a dollar-for-dollar match, under a program called Nuclear Power 2010, whose goal is to have at least one reactor under construction by that year with the aid of a nuclear reactor manufacturer. It has not picked a site or a design, or even committed to build anything.
A different group asked for help with a $4 million under Nuclear Power 2010 to explore building a nuclear reactor in northern Alabama at the site of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Bellefont project, through manufacturers of nuclear reactors. The T.V.A. stopped work on a twin-unit nuclear plant at Bellefonte in 1988, after spending $2.5 billion. This consortium consists of T.V.A. and nuclear reactor manufacturer General Electric (which are both members of the NuStart group as well); Bechtel, Toshiba; and USEC, a nuclear reactor manufacturer that processes uranium for nuclear reactor use.
Another consortium made up of Dominion Resources Inc., Hitachi America, Bechtel and an American subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd are also asking for financing.
International Agreement For Next Generation Nuclear Power Systems
The Bush Administration's Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman joined representatives from Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom to sign the first international agreement in history aimed at the development of next generation nuclear power systems. The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) iresearch agreement will accelerate an international effort to develop Generation IV nuclear energy systems nuclear energy technology that will be safer, more reliable, cost-effective, and more proliferation-resistant than any technology available today.
The GIF partners have identified six next generation technologies for development including:
- Gas Cooled Fast Reactor;
- Sodium Fast Reactor;
- Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor;
- Molten Salt Reactor;
- Supercritical Water Reactor; and
- Very High Temperature Reactor.
The last technology concept forms the basis of the U.S. research program to develop an ultra-safe, economic nuclear system that will be designed to produce electricity and hydrogen with substantially less waste and without emitting air pollutants or greenhouse gases.
The Framework Agreement allows participating countries to go beyond coordination of research and to begin conducting joint research projects all over the world. This agreement will allow the United States and other GIF member countries to carry out their research and development programs more effectively by leveraging the resources and expertise of the international research community.
The Generation IV International Forum is composed of 11 countries including:
- European Union,
- South Africa,
- South Korea,
- United Kingdom, and
- United States
For more information on this and other DOE nuclear technology initiatives please visit the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology at www.nuclear.gov