NRC to hold mandatory hearing on South Texas Project new reactor application Nov. 19

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct a mandatory hearing Thursday, Nov. 19, on an application for Combined Licenses (COL) to build and operate two new reactors at the South Texas Project site near Bay City, Texas. This hearing marks the final step in the agency’s Part 52 reactor licensing process.

“My fellow Commissioners and I will use this hearing to independently and carefully evaluate whether the NRC staff’s safety and environmental reviews are sufficient to support the necessary regulatory findings,” said NRC Chairman Stephen G. Burns. “The complex job of reviewing a reactor license application is a critical part of our regulatory and safety mission.”

The Commission’s hearing will include testimony and exhibits from applicant Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA), as well as NRC staff, on the question of whether the staff’s review adequately supports the findings necessary to issue the licenses.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 19 in the Commission Hearing Room at NRC Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md. The hearing will be open to public observation and will be webcast. A detailed agenda and presentation slides will be available in advance on the Commission’s meeting transcript page.

NINA is applying for permission to build and operate two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) at the site, adjacent to two operating reactors run by South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company. NINA submitted the COL application for South Texas Project Units 3 and 4 on Sept. 20, 2007. The NRC certified the 1,300-megawatt ABWR design in 1997; more information on the certification process is available on the NRC website.

The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) independently reviewed aspects of the application that concern safety, as well as the staff’s final safety evaluation report (FSER). The committee provided the results of its review to the Commission on Feb. 19, 2015. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the final impact statement for the proposed reactors in February 2011. The NRC completed and issued the FSER on Sept. 29, 2015.