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Board Terminates Review of Calvert Cliffs 3
Rockville, MD - 11/2/2012
By Marty Madden
A three-judge panel has officially terminated its review of a proposal to build a new nuclear reactor in Lusby, federal officials reported. According to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesman Neil Sheehan, the Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) issued its termination notice Thursday, Nov. 1, 60 days after giving the project applicant 60 days to identify a domestic company as a partner in the venture.
The project, known as Calvert Cliffs 3, was originally a joint venture of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG)—the owners and operators of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant—and Electricite de France (EDF). Under the banner of UniStar Nuclear Operating Services, the companies submitted a combined licensing application during the summer of 2007.
Despite overwhelming community support from elected officials, local businesses, residents and the trade unions a group of organizations intervened, formally lodging a protest against the project. The groups—Nuclear Information Resource Service, Beyond Nuclear, Public Citizen and Southern Maryland Citizens Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions—cited several factors for their protest, including a foreign company’s participation in the project. Federal law has restrictions on the involvement of foreign entities in nuclear projects.
In 2010, CENG ended its involvement with UniStar, making EDF the sole company involved in Calvert Cliffs 3. Constellation’s exit came after a request for a guaranteed loan from the U.S. Department of Energy failed to materialize.
On Aug. 30, the ASLB granted a summary disposition in favor of the interveners on the foreign ownership issue. UniStar was given 60 days to identify a U.S. partner.
In September UniStar filed a petition with the NRC’s five-member, presidential appointed oversight commission, requesting it review the ASLB’s August decision.
“The commission has not yet ruled on the petition,” Sheehan stated.
In the petition, UniStar officials have affirmed the plan to build a 1,600 megawatt generating unit is in the nation’s “best interest.”
UniStar officials affirm the project will “generate electricity” and “promote jobs and clean energy.”
“The clock ran out on French nuclear expansion plans in the U.S.,” declared Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. “The electric companies have lost their appetite for exorbitantly expensive and increasingly risky atomic power. The new reactor fiasco is over in Maryland.”
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
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