Application Filed to Build Two Nuclear Plants in Texas

NRG Energy, Inc. of Princeton, N.J., and the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company are applying Sept. 25 for a construction and operating license to build two new nuclear power units at the STP location, which is 90 miles southwest of Houston. By filing the first U.S. nuclear plant license application in 29 years, NRG wants to get $500 million in federal funding for each new unit as authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Together, they would produce at least 2,700 megawatts of power.

STP has two operating units. These Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) units would be built adjacent to them on the 12,220-acre site, which has a 7,000-acre cooling reservoir and was designed for four units. NRG said after a two-month acceptance review, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may take as long as 42 months to review the application, conduct hearings, and prepare Environmental Impact Statements. NRG hopes to begin construction in 2010 and to have the new units online in 2014 and 2015.

"It is a new day for energy in America," said David Crane, NRG's president and CEO. "Advanced-technology nuclear power plants like STP 3 and 4, generating a vast amount of electricity cleanly, safely, and reliably, will make an enormous contribution toward the greater energy security of the United States. But, equally, this announcement heralds a new day for the environment. Advanced nuclear technology is the only currently viable large-scale alternative to traditional coal-fueled generation to produce none of the traditional air emissions -- and, most importantly in this age of climate change, no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases."

Four ABWR units have been commissioned in Japan, although two are currently offline because of recent earthquake damage. Three more units are under construction in Taiwan and Japan, NRG said. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc., which has operate ABWR units, is supporting the STP expansion, according to NRG.

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