Exelon to withdraw Texas ESP application

VICTORIA, Texas — Exelon is halting efforts to gain initial federal regulatory approvals for new nuclear construction in Victoria County, Texas, the company announced today.

The company has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it will withdraw its Early Site Permit application for an 11,500-acre tract southeast of Victoria. The action is in response to low natural gas prices and economic and market conditions that have made construction of new merchant nuclear power plants in competitive markets uneconomical now and for the foreseeable future.

“While we have decided to withdraw our application for this particular project, Exelon’s presence in Texas is growing and will continue to grow,” said Charles G. Pardee, chief operating officer of Exelon Generation, the nation’s largest nuclear operator. “We like doing business in Texas. It has a welcoming environment for business and industry, the competitive market is strong and the people are great. Exelon is in Texas for the long haul.”

Following Exelon’s successful merger with Constellation Energy, the company operates more than 4,000 megawatts of natural gas and wind generation capacity in Texas.  It also sells electricity to more than 144,000 residential accounts through its StarTex brand, and to nearly 35,000 commercial customers through Constellation New Energy.  Exelon and its subsidiaries have offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston.

Exelon originally submitted an application for a combined construction and operating license for the Victoria County site in 2008, but never made a decision to build a nuclear plant there. In 2010 the company applied for an Early Site Permit, a change in licensing strategy that allowed Exelon to continue with some aspects of site evaluation and regulatory approvals while deferring a construction decision for up to 20 years. Today’s withdrawal brings an end to all project activity.

“Victoria County was Exelon’s location of choice because of its strong community support. People made us feel at home in their community from the very first day, and they still do,” said Marilyn Kray, vice president of Nuclear Project Development for Exelon Generation. “This is all about the economics of the project, which are driven by commodity and financial markets.  I cannot stress enough how important it was to us to have partnered with Victoria, and we look forward to other Texas partnerships in the future.”