The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) has cleared the way for the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue an Early Site Permit for a site adjacent to the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants in Salem County, New Jersey.
The board’s mandatory hearing, on the application from Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) affiliates PSEG Power and PSEG Nuclear, found the staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.
The NRC staff will work to issue the ESP promptly, and the permit will be valid for up to 20 years from the issuance date. The permit resolves a number of site-related issues, including many environmental impacts, but does not authorize any NRC-regulated construction activities.
PSEG would have to apply separately for an NRC license to build and operate a specific reactor design at the site. Nevertheless, the site permit does help preserve PSEG’s option to develop additional nuclear capacity in the future.
The NRC staff’s technical review of the PSEG ESP application covered issues such as how the site’s characteristics could affect plant safety, environmental protection, and plans for coping with emergencies. The staff published a final environmental impact statement for the permits in November 2015, and a final safety evaluation in September 2015.