The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced an official review schedule for the license application to potentially expand Luminant's Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, a key milestone in moving the application process forward.
Based on the schedule, the NRC will complete the review required to issue Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Company (CP Nuclear Power) its combined license (COL) by December 2011. It is projected that a license would be issued roughly one year later, following NRC certification of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) US-Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (US-APWR) power plant design.
“Luminant and Mitsubishi are committed to advancing this application for safe, dependable clean-air energy together,” said Brett Wiggs, CP Nuclear Power vice president and development manager. “This new review schedule shows the application continues to make significant progress.”
In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has notified CP Nuclear Power that the expansion project has significant merit and is still under consideration for a loan guarantee. “This is an important next step in the process to develop Comanche Peak Units 3 & 4,” added Wiggs. “We look forward to continuing the review of the project with the Department of Energy.”
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.
“Having a firm review schedule after filing the COL application is a major indication that the project is proceeding steadily through the regulatory review process; it is also a major milestone for the US-APWR,” said Masahiko Kaneda, executive vice president of CP Nuclear Power and senior vice president of engineering for Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems (MNES), a wholly-owned MHI subsidiary involved in the project. “We have been able to meet the NRC's requests for additional information in a timely manner, and now the COL application review can really get started.”
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.
About Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Company
CP Nuclear Power is a joint venture between subsidiaries of Luminant and MHI. The joint venture company, as project owner, will fund project development costs during the period preceding the issuance of the combined license (COL) to build and operate Comanche Peak Units 3 & 4. Under the terms of the joint venture, Luminant, through a subsidiary, holds an 88 percent ownership interest in the company and a subsidiary of MHI owns a 12 percent interest.