After achieving its goal of licensing the first new nuclear power plants in decades and spurring more than $2 billion in private investment in new nuclear energy development, NuStart Energy Development, LLC will disband and reallocate its resources back to its 10-member companies effective June 30, 2012.
When NuStart Energy Development, LLC was formed in 2004 with the goal of helping to lay the foundation for the next generation of nuclear plants in the United States, the 10-utility-members outlined two objectives.
The first objective was to obtain a Construction and Operating License (COL) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) using previously never been tested licensing process developed in 1992; the second was to complete the design engineering for the Westinghouse AP1000® technology. Both objectives were achieved in the past six months: the AP1000 reactor was approved in December 2011 and the NRC issued the COL to Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle in February.
“NuStart was the leader and motivator for the licensing efforts of what are now four new nuclear reactors in the United States,” said Marilyn Kray, president, NuStart Energy. “In addition to the approval of the AP1000 reactor and Plant Vogtle, South Carolina Electric & Gas received approval for its expansion of V.C. Summer just weeks after Plant Vogtle, using the economies of scale NuStart created.”
Part of the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Power 2010 initiative, NuStart was funded by what was designed to be a 50-50 cost-shared program between the nuclear industry and the DOE. DOE funding for nuclear energy amounted to approximately $355 million. Together with Westinghouse, NuStart’s contributions amounted to approximately $975 million.
“Today we celebrate the fact that the NuStart vision of eight years ago is now a reality. Westinghouse is proud to have helped launch the next generation of nuclear energy as a NuStart partner,” said Kate Jackson, Westinghouse Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Research and Technology. “Now the stage is set for innovation and initiatives that will further ensure that America’s energy outlook continues to be safe, clean and reliable.”
“By coming together, the NuStart consortium members helped reduce risk and uncertainty, manage costs and ensure the best engineering minds in the business were used in the process,” Kray continued. “These accomplishments will allow nuclear energy to remain a safe, clean and reliable source of energy for generations to come.”
“The efforts of NuStart have been vital in achieving the first construction and operating licenses for new U.S. nuclear units in more than 30 years,” said Buzz Miller, Executive Vice President of Nuclear Development for Southern Nuclear. “These units will deliver clean, safe and reliable energy to our customers.”
Since its inception, the consortium and its members have:
- Created in excess of 15,000 new manufacturing and technical service jobs since 2005
- Spurred more than $2 billion in private investment in nuclear services and supplies
- Supported 18 COL applications
- Served as a model for similar groups, particularly for the small modular reactor development
For approximately every $24,000 the government spent, one new stable, high-paying manufacturing or technical services job was created, according to the estimated return on investment for federal dollars.
With its mission achieved, NuStart member utilities will concentrate resources on the companies’ respective nuclear projects, after the group disbands on June 30, 2012.