NRC agrees to another delay related to licensing for Calvert Cliffs Unit 3

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption in response to a December 2014 letter from UniStar Nuclear Energy (UNE), on behalf of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Project LLC and UniStar Operating Services LLC, co-applicants for the combined license (COL) application for the 1,600-MW Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3 (CCNPP3).

The exemption is to delay the submission of the annual update of the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) to be included in the COL application. The NRC staff reviewed this request and determined that it is appropriate to grant the exemption to delay the FSAR update submittal up to Dec. 31, 2015, said the commission in an April 17 notice to be published in the Federal Register.

In 2008, UNE submitted to the NRC a COL application to construct and operate a single unit of AREVA NP’s U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR), designated as Calvert Cliffs Unit 3, at a site in Calvert County, Maryland. UNE’s COL application for CCNPP3 incorporates by reference AREVA NP’s application for a standard design certification for the U.S. EPR. The NRC is currently performing concurrent reviews of the CCNPP3 COL application as well as AREVA NP’s application for design certification of the U.S. EPR.

UNE also had previously requested an exemption in November 2013 to submit the scheduled 2013 FSAR update, and proposed, for approval, a new submittal deadline of Dec. 31, 2014. The NRC granted the exemption.

In a Dec. 16, 2014, letter, UNE requested that after January 2015, the NRC defer its safety review portion of the Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 COL application until such time that UNE formally requests that the NRC resume its review. The letter also stated that UNE will monitor and evaluate progress of the technical issue resolution for the U.S. EPR FSAR and the development of guidance necessary to address Foreign Ownership Control and Domination (FOCD) prior to requesting the NRC to resume review.

By letter dated Feb. 27, UNE requested that after March 6, the NRC suspend the Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 COL application review until such time that UNE formally requests that the NRC resume its review. The letter also stated that UNE will continue to monitor the U.S. EPR Design Certification efforts, as well as other project conditions such as foreign ownership guidance, loan guarantee availability and the electricity market, among others.

Said the Feb. 27 letter asking for suspension of the licensing process: “Due to the recent suspension of NRC review activities for the U.S. EPR Design Certification Application per Reference 1, UniStar Nuclear Energy (UNE) requests that NRC suspend review activities for the Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 Combined License Application (COLA). The Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 COLA references the AREVA U.S. EPR Design Certification in its application. The Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 COLA cannot be approved and issued by NRC until after the EPR Design Certification is approved and issued. Therefore, we have decided to suspend activities supporting the Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 COLA until further notice.

“UNE and Electricite de France (EDF) will continue to monitor the U.S. EPR Design Certification efforts, as well as other project conditions such as foreign ownership guidance, loan guarantee availability and the electricity market, among others. UNE does not plan to respond to any Requests for Additional Information that have not been responded to at this point until after a decision to resume activities is made.

“UNE requests that NRC suspend all reviews supporting the Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 COLA in an expeditious manner and document the review performed to date. This includes Environmental reviews and the work of any NRC subcontractors.”

The two-unit Calvert Cliffs plant, co-owned by Exelon (NYSE: EXC), is built on a 1,500 acre site on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, about 50 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. Its two existing units are capable of generating over 1,700 MW (net) annually. The third unit would have a capacity of about 1,600 MW.

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.