Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) has filed an Early Site Permit (ESP) application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a possible nuclear power plant in New Jersey.

The preferred location for the potential new plant would be adjacent to PSEG Nuclear’s Salem and Hope Creek Generating Stations now in operation in Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County.

PSEG has not decided on a particular reactor design. Instead, the ESP application utilizes a Plant Parameter Envelope for the site, acknowledging that a variety of possible plant designs could be accommodated at the proposed location. This will allow PSEG to qualify the site for potential future development without selecting a specific reactor technology.

“This is an important first step in the regulatory process to determine if a new plant is viable,” explained PSEG Power president Bill Levis. “Though it is not a commitment to build, it would determine that the location we have identified for a potential new plant is suitable from a safety, environmental and emergency planning standpoint.”

An ESP is valid for 20 years and can potentially be renewed for an additional 10 to 20 years. PSEG would need to submit and receive approval from the NRC for a Combined Operating License (COL) in order to actually construct and operate a new plant.

A dedicated nuclear development team has spent the past two and a half years developing the 4000-page ESP application. The application’s safety review considers a number of site factors including seismology, hydrology, population distribution and emergency preparedness. The environmental review evaluates the impacts of construction and operation of a nuclear power plant at the proposed site.

The NRC is expected to take three years to review the ESP application. It is the USA’s sixth ESP application so far. To date, the NRC has issued four ESPs for Exelon’s Clinton site in Illinois; Entergy’s Grand Gulf site in Mississippi; Dominion’s North Anna site in Virginia; and Southern’s Vogtle site in Georgia. A fifth application is currently under review for Exelon’s proposed plant in Victoria County, Texas.

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