NRC grants break to Luminant over suspended nuclear licensing

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a notice to be published in the March 24 Federal Register that it has granted an exemption to Luminant Generation Co. LLC related to suspension of work on two new units at the Comanche Peak power plant in Texas.

Luminant had in 2008 submitted to the NRC Combined License (COL) applications for two United States-Advanced Pressurized Water Reactors (US-APWR). These reactors will be identified as Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant (CPNPP) Units 3 and 4, and are located at the existing Comanche Peak site in Somervell County, Texas. The NRC docketed the application in December 2008 and is currently performing a review of the application. In addition, the NRC is currently performing a detailed review of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) application for the design certification of the US-APWR.

Regulations require that an applicant for a COL shall, during the period from docketing of a COL application (COLA), until the commission makes a finding pertaining to facility operation, submit an annual update to the application’s Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR), which is a part of the COLA.

In November 2013, Luminant submitted a request to the NRC that all reviews associated with the COLA for CPNPP Units 3 and 4 be suspended for an indeterminate period beginning March 31, 2014. The next annual FSAR update would be due in November 2014. On Jan. 14, Luminant requested an exemption for an indeterminate period until a change in COLA status is formally requested.

The exemption would allow Luminant to submit the subsequent FSAR update one year after the COLA review suspension period is formally ended. The FSAR update schedule could not be changed, absent the exemption.

The exemption would allow Luminant to submit the next FSAR update at a later date, but still within a reasonable timeframe of NRC’s reinstating its review of the application and in any event, by Nov. 30, 2015.

The plant’s current two units have a total net operating capacity of 2,300 MW, or 1,150 MW per unit. The new units, as applied for, would be 1,700 MW each.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.