AP1000 COL application submitted; ESBWR to follow

21 November 2007

The NuStart Energy consortium and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have submitted an application for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) for two AP1000 reactors at the Bellefonte site in Alabama. Meanwhile, Dominion plans to submit a COL application for an ESBWR at its North Anna site in Virginia on 27 November.

In September 2005, NuStart announced it had chosen the Bellefonte and Grand Gulf sites as the ones it would use on COL applications for the Westinghouse AP1000 design and GE’s ESBWR design, respectively. While the Bellefonte application submitted on 30 October 2007 is the reference application for the AP1000, the lead application for the ESBWR is the one for the North Anna site. NuStart president Marilyn Kray told NEI: “NuStart has been working closely with Dominion to develop the generic portions of that submittal.” Both NuStart and Dominion are receiving funding by the US Department of Energy (DoE) under its Nuclear Power 2010 (NP 2010) programme for developing the generic portion of the lead ESBWR application. Kray added: “As a point of reference, 75-80% of the Final Safety Analysis Report (one of the main components of a COL application) will be standard for all ESBWR COL applications.”

According to Kray, submission of the NuStart application for an ESBWR at Entergy’s Grand Gulf site in Mississippi is currently planned for 28 February 2008.

The Bellefonte filing is the second complete COL application to be submitted, following the first one by NRG Energy on 24 September 2007 for two GE-designed ABWR units at the South Texas Project site. Earlier, on 13 July, Constellation Energy and Areva, Inc partnership UniStar Nuclear submitted the environmental report portion of a COL application for a USEPR at Calvert Cliffs. Constellation said the remainder of this application would be submitted by mid March 2008. The NRC expects to receive around 20 COL applications covering some 30 units during the course of the next two years. NRC review of a COL application is expected to take about four years.

Under the NP 2010 programme, the DoE provides half the funds for the licence application. A TVA spokesman told NEI that the reference COL application for each reactor technology “could cost approximately $25-30 million to prepare.” He added: “Subsequent COL applications that maximise the use of the material from the reference COL applications should cost substantially less, but will vary by individual company and project.” However, a TVA statement said NuStart estimates the design work for each site to cost around $400 million. “This first-of-a-kind engineering has never been done because no utility has ordered a new nuclear plant in three decades,” the statement reads. Although NuStart had been awarded DoE funding to prepare both COL applications, the consortium was granted DoE funding to submit only one application.

The design-centred working group for the Westinghouse AP1000 is comprised of NuStart Members TVA, Progress Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, South Carolina Electric & Gas and Westinghouse. The other NuStart consortium members are EDF International North America, Entergy, Exelon, Florida Power & Light and GE-Hitachi. In addition, Detroit Edison recently applied to join NuStart, while UniStar Nuclear member Constellation Energy announced it would leave the NuStart consortium in December.

GE-Hitachi’s ESBWR design-centred working group includes Dominion, Entergy, and GE-Hitachi.


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