WNN News:
PSEG submits ESP application
26 May 2010

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) has submitted an early site permit (ESP) application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a proposed new nuclear power plant in New Jersey.

Salem-Hope Creek (PSEG)
A new neighbor for Salem and Hope Creek? (Image: PSEG) The preferred location for a potential new plant would be adjacent to PSEG's Salem and Hope Creek plants. The two plants are located on a 740 acre (300 hectare) site in Salem County, New Jersey. Together, the plants currently comprise the second largest nuclear generating facility in the USA.

In a statement, PSEG said that a "dedicated nuclear development team has spent the past two and a half years developing the ESP application that is approximately 4000 pages." 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.

Under the ESP process, the NRC undertakes an evaluation of 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 the criteria in those evaluation areas. If the company later chooses to pursue construction, the ESP becomes part of the combined construction and operation license (COL) application, which requires a separate review and approval. The NRC's review of the ESP application is expected to take three years.

PSEG's ESP application - submitted by its PSEG Power and PSEG Nuclear subsidiaries - 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 the company to qualify the site for potential future development without selecting a specific reactor technology.

If approved, the ESP would effectively reserve the property for new nuclear construction for up to 20 years with the possibility of renewal for another 10 to 20 years.

Bill Levis, president of PSEG Power, said, "This is an important first step in the regulatory process to determine if a new plant is viable." He added, "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."

"Nuclear power is a proven technology and meets our country’s needs for clean central station power that limits our impact on the environment," Levis noted. "Filing an ESP allows us to explore an increased role for nuclear power in combating climate change now and in the future."

According to PSEG, "based on the regulatory review, permitting and construction timetables, it would take approximately 13 years for a new plant to begin generating electricity."

PSEG already has three operating reactors (PWRs) at the same New Jersey site - the two pressurized water reactor (PWR) Salem units, plus the single Hope Creek boiling water reactor (BWR) - and has applied for license extensions for all three. PSEG owns 100% of Hope Creek and 57% of Salem. It also holds a 50% interest in the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

So far, 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. It is also currently reviewing an ESP application from Exelon for its proposed plant in Victoria County, Texas.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News