The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently announced an official review schedule for the license application to expand Glen Rose, Texas Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, a key milestone in moving forward both the application process and partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ US-APWR reactor design.

Based on the NRC review schedule, the NRC will complete the review required to issue Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Company its combined license (COL) by December 2011. Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Company, a joint venture between US utility Luminant and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd, anticipates that a license would be issued roughly one year later, following NRC certification of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ US-Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (US-APWR) power plant design.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy has notified CP Nuclear Power that the expansion project has significant merit and is still under consideration for a loan guarantee, which is an important next step in the process to develop Comanche Peak Units 3 & 4.

The license application proposes expanding the existing Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant to include Units 3 & 4, each of which will be capable of producing 1,700 megawatts, or enough nuclear energy to power almost 875,000 average Texas homes. Luminant selected the US-APWR as its technology of choice in March 2007, following an extensive evaluation of prospective nuclear generating technologies. A COL application was submitted to the NRC in September 2008 and the agency accepted the application for review in December 2008.

Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems (MNES), a wholly-owned MHI subsidiary involved in the project, will continue to support CP Nuclear Power to meet the NRC’s requests for additional information in a timely manner.

MHI established MNES in Washington, D.C., in July 2006 to introduce the US-APWR to the U.S. market. MHI submitted an application to have the US-APWR design certified by the NRC in December 2007; that application is currently under NRC review. Mitsubishi Corporation, an MHI partner, is also supporting this project.

The US-APWR is an evolutionary pressurized water reactor with improved efficiency, enhanced safety systems and other advanced design elements. MHI has built 23 pressurized water reactors that currently operate in Japan and has a 24th undergoing final testing prior to commercial operation in December. MHI also provides a wide range of maintenance services to the plants once they are in operation.

As previously announced, Luminant and MHI will seek official support for financing from the U.S. and Japanese governments.

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