Exelon and Dominion have become the first US electric power companies to submit early site permit (ESP) applications to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to facilitate any future decision the companies might make to build a new nuclear power plant.
They have indicated the sites (Exelon's Clinton power station in Illinois, and Dominion's North Anna power station near Richmond) where they would consider building new nuclear plants should favourable conditions arise.
An approval of the ESP does not automatically authorise construction of a new plant; NRC regulations lay down a two-part licensing process. Following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania, the US government has not issued permits for new nuclear power stations. However, the Bush administration is known to support nuclear power.
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