|Exelon asks NRC for license for 2 Texas reactors 09/03 01:14 PM|
By Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Exelon Corp (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday for a license to build and operate two nuclear power reactors in southeast Texas, the company said.
An NRC decision is not expected until 2012. Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) won't say when the plant could open, but new nuclear reactors are estimated to take at least four years to build.
The plants would be 20 miles south of Victoria, Texas, a city of about 65,000 people southeast of San Antonio and southwest of Houston.
Together, the two units would be capable of making about 3,000 megawatts of power, enough to serve about 1.85 million average Texas homes, Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) spokesman Bill Harris said.
Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) would not say how much the plants could cost. FPL Corp is considering two reactors of similar size and design in Florida and estimates costs between $16.5 billion and $24.3 billion.
Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) said it has not decided whether to build the plants, and said it will consider factors including financial risk, public acceptance, and nuclear fuel storage.
The proposed Victoria reactors would be placed on a 11,500-acre (4654 hectares) tract of land owned by a family that has agreed to lease to Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) with an option to buy.
A 4,900-acre (1983 hectares) artificial lake would be constructed to supply cooling water for the reactors. Such a lake would take up to two years to fill, largely from water of the Guadalupe River that borders the property.
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy reactors called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors," or ESBWR, were picked by Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) as the design for the proposed plant. General Electric Co (GE:$28.57,00$0.04,000.14%) and Hitachi Ltd (HTHIF:$7.5000,$0.0000,0.00%) <6501.T> have teamed up to compete in what is seen as a global surge in new nuclear power plants.
The reactors would also be about 70 miles from two 20-year-old South Texas Project (STP) operating nuclear reactors. NRG is the largest owner of the existing STP reactors and the two 1,350-megawatt proposed reactors at the same site. NRG Energy applied in September 2007 for an NRC license to expand STP and has said it will revise its license in October.
EXELON BIGGEST U.S. NUCLEAR PLAYER
Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) is based in Chicago. Its unit Exelon Generation would build and operate the plant.
Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) is the biggest U.S. nuclear power plant operator with 17 of the country's 104 working nuclear reactors, on 10 sites. It is the world's third-largest nuclear operator.
The Exelon (EXC:$71.91,00$-2.17,00-2.93%) application is the 12th to be submitted to the federal nuclear regulator in the past 14 months. Those 12 applications account for 17 reactors.
Now, eight of those 17 reactors -- on four sites -- are "greenfield" projects, meaning that they are not adjacent to existing nuclear power plants.
The spate of recent applications follow a fallow period when no applications were filed after 1977. Plans to build several nuclear power plants were canceled after the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania.
The NRC says it expects to get applications for about 30 nuclear reactors by 2010. (Editing by David Gregorio)