Commission Denies UniStar's Appeal

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Commission Denies UniStar's Appeal

Rockville, MD - 3/11/2013

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By Marty Madden

A panel that oversees the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has denied an appeal from applicants for a third reactor at a Lusby plant challenging an earlier Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) ruling on the application. The denial was issued Monday, March 11.

The ruling against UniStar Nuclear Operating Services LLC and Calvert Cliffs 3 Nuclear Project was issued last year. The ASLB determined UniStar failed to meet NRC foreign ownership requirements for nuclear reactors.

“Applicants are domestic subsidiaries of UniStar Nuclear Energy, LLC (UniStar),” the ASLB ruling stated. “At the time the application was filed, UniStar was owned in near-equal shares, through intermediate parent companies, by Constellation Energy Group, an America corporation and Électricité de France (EDF), a French company. In November 2010 applicants informed the Board that EDF had acquired Constellation’s 50 percent interest in UniStar.  Shortly thereafter, the Staff informed Applicants that it had completed its foreign ownership review, and determined that the combined license application did not satisfy the agency’s foreign ownership requirements. The ASLB had ruled against the application because of a failure by UniStar to meet NRC foreign ownership requirements for U.S. power reactors. Specifically, the company has not been able, to date, to find a U.S. partner for the planned plant.”

While the ASLB decision was upheld, the five-member NRC panel concluded that a review of foreign ownership requirements for U.S. nuclear power plants was appropriate. “We agree that, with the passage of time since the agency first issued substantive guidance on the foreign ownership provision of AEA section 103d, a reassessment is appropriate,” ASLB officials stated. “We therefore are directing the staff, outside the adjudicatory context, to review issues relating to foreign ownership and recommend whether the commission should consider modifications to agency guidance or practice. As part of that assessment, we are directing the staff to consider stakeholder input.”

The NRC has not ruled out the possibility that UniStar could revise its application should the company find a domestic partner for the Calvert Cliffs project.

A spokesman for UniStar issued the following statement.

“UniStar thanks the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its consideration of the Petition for Review.  We look forward to receipt of the revised guidance on foreign ownership, control and domination and hope to participate in that process.   In the meantime, we will continue to support the NRC’s ongoing review of the Calvert Cliffs 3 application.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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