Areva to look into EPRs for California

4 January 2010

Areva and Fresno Nuclear Energy Group (FNEG) have signed a Letter of Intent to formally cooperate in the development of one or two EPR reactors in Central Valley, California, Areva announced 29 December.

Areva and FNEG will work together on the initial development and permitting process. In 2010, the two companies will begin a series of studies to identify the most feasible site for a new nuclear power plant in California.

However, they will have to contend with a 30-year ban on new nuclear build before a reactor can be built in the state. The 1975 law prohibits the use of land in California for the construction of new nuclear power plants until the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission confirms the existence of “an approved and demonstrated technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste.”

In 2007, a bill was introduced in California’s state legislature by Republican assembly member Chuck DeVore calling for the moratorium to be lifted. But the bill did not receive the necessary support to make it into law.

There are currently four nuclear reactors in operation in California: Diablo Canyon 1 and 2 (owned by Pacific Gas & Electric Co) and San Onofre 2 and 3 (owned by Southern California Edison Co and San Diego Gas & Electric Co). Together they provide some 17% of California’s electricity needs.

As for the EPR, there are six US-utilities that have chosen the Areva design for potential new build projects (Constellation, PPL, AmerenUE, Amarillo Power, AEHI and Duke Energy).

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