- On August 7, NRC issued an order halting issuance of any new construction licenses or license renewals until the Commission can respond to a June 8 court ruling striking down the NRC’s waste confidence rule, which assumes that a waste repository will be available “when necessary”; reviews of license applications will continue and the order does not apply to design certifications.
- On September 6, NRC directed the agency’s staff to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) and a revised waste confidence decision and rule on the temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel. The EIS and rule are to be completed within 24 months.
- Due to low natural gas prices and unfavorable economic conditions, Exelon has withdrawn its application for an Early Site Permit for its Victoria County, Texas site.
- On September 25, NRC issued a license to General Electric-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE) to construct and operate a uranium enrichment plant using laser technology in Wilmington, N.C. The license authorizes U-235 enrichment of up to 8 percent by weight.
- On August 30, A panel for the Atomic Safety Licensing Board ruled that a license cannot be granted to Unistar for its proposed Calvert Cliffs reactor due to legal restrictions on foreign ownership; Unistar is wholly owned by EDF. The Board has given Unistar 60 days to correct this violation.
- Eighteen Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) applications have been docketed, ten of which (totaling 16 nuclear reactors) remain under active NRC review. NRC reviews of five applications were suspended due to utility economic considerations. Review of the Fermi and South Texas Project applications could continue after submittal of additional technical information; in addition, South Texas Project faces foreign ownership issues. The Reference COL (R-COL) application has been submitted for five reactor designs; subsequent COLs (S-COLs) will incorporate the corresponding R-COL application by reference, noting any site-specific departures. Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle Units 3 and 4 and SCE&G’s VC Summer Units 2 and 3 have received COLs.
- Small modular reactors are defined as having a capacity of less than 300 MWe -- Nine SMR vendors have initiated contact with the NRC regarding their reactor designs. Four of these designs are domestic Light Water-based designs. While all four will submit DC applications, B&W and Holtec have plans to submit Construction Permits under 10CFRPart 50, as well.
Reactor Design Certification (DC)
Two reactor designs that are being considered for future builds are certified and two renewal applications are under NRC review.
- AREVA US-EPR – Submitted December 12, 2007, and docketed February 25, 2008; rulemaking expected in December 2014.
- GE ESBWR – Final Design Approval in March 2011; rulemaking expected 2013.
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries US-APWR – Submitted December 31, 2007, and docketed February 29, 2008; rulemaking expected in 2015.
- KEPCO APR1400 – Pre-application interactions began in January 2012. Design certification application anticipated March 2013.
- GE ABWR – Certified in 1997. Toshiba and GEH have also separately submitted Design Certification renewal applications that are currently under review.
- Westinghouse AP1000 – Amended design certified on December 30, 2011.
- B&W Mpower and NuScale are in pre-application meetings with NRC
Early Site Permits (ESP)
Four ESPs issued; one under review:
- Exelon has withdrawn its application for an Early Site Permit for its Victoria County, Texas site.PSEG submitted an
- ESP application for its nuclear plant site in Salem County, New Jersey, on May 25, 2010. The final SER and EIS are expected in mid to late 2014.
- NRC anticipates two further ESP applications at Blue Castle, Utah, and Callaway, Missouri.
- The following ESPs have been issued: Exelon – Clinton (IL), 3/15/07; Entergy – Grand Gulf (MS), 4/5/07; Dominion – North Anna (VA), 11/ 27/07; Southern – Vogtle site (GA), 08/26/09.