Kennett Square - Exelon Nuclear Texas Holdings LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Exelon Generation, today filed an "early site permit" application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an 11,500-acre site in Victoria County, Texas. At the same time, Exelon formally withdrew its application for a combined construction and operating license for the same site.
If approved, the early site permit would effectively reserve the property for new nuclear construction for up to 20 years with the possibility of renewal for another 20. Unlike a combined construction and operating license, an early site permit, or ESP, does not authorize construction of a new plant.
If a decision to build is eventually made, Exelon would be required to re-apply for a combined construction and operating license at that time.
The proposed site is 13 miles south of the City of Victoria. NRC review of the ESP application could take three to four years.
"A decision whether to build in Victoria County will be made years in the future," said Marilyn Kray, Exelon's vice president for nuclear project development. "The ESP allows us to establish the suitability of the site, which lessens the amount of work to do should we later decide to pursue a license."
The ESP application accommodates a variety of possible future plant designs, allowing for flexibility in selecting a reactor technology later as part of a full license application.
Much of the data gathering and analysis contained in the ESP application had been performed for the combined construction and operating license application filed in 2008. Work on that application was suspended last year at Exelon's request because of uncertainties in the domestic economy, lowered expectations of future electricity demand and related economic considerations.
Under the ESP process, the NRC evaluates site safety, environmental impact and emergency planning regarding a proposed nuclear plant. By issuing an ESP for a specific site, the NRC is certifying that the site satisfies federal criteria in those evaluation areas. If the company later chooses to pursue construction, the ESP becomes part of the combined construction and operating license application, which requires a separate review, public input and approval by the NRC.
The Victoria County application is Exelon's second ESP submittal. In 2007, the company received an early site permit for property beside the Clinton Power Station in Dewitt County, Ill., one of Exelon's 10 operating nuclear power stations.