Talen Energy officially drops license application for Bell Bend nuclear project

Talen Energy (NYSE: TLN) said Aug. 31 that it has sent a written request to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) withdrawing its license application for the proposed Bell Bend nuclear power project in Luzerne County, Pa.

Licensing and permitting activities related to Bell Bend had previously been suspended, although the license application remained on file with the NRC. The formal withdrawal of the license application at the NRC ends the Bell Bend project.

Said the company: “Talen Energy sees no viable path to obtaining a license for Bell Bend. AREVA, the company that developed the reactor design on which the Bell Bend project is based, asked the NRC in February 2015 to suspend the design certification process.”

The Bell Bend license application was filed in 2008 for a site adjacent to Talen Energy’s existing Susquehanna nuclear plant. The decision to withdraw the Bell Bend license application has no effect on the company’s long-term commitment to operation of the 2,600-MW Susquehanna plant.

Talen Energy on Aug. 4 reported in its second quarter earnings statement that a net loss in the second quarter included an after-tax, non-cash asset impairment charge of $122 million related to the Bell Bend nuclear project.

The NRC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had said in the April 29 Federal Register tthat they had completed the final environmental impact statement for the Bell Bend project.

The project was intended to provide 1,600 MW of additional nuclear baseload electric power to the northeast portion of the PJM Interconnection grid. Talen got the development rights to Bell Bend when it was spun off in 2015 from PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL).

In its original application, PPL specified the reactor design as AREVA NP Inc.’s U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor (U.S. EPR) design. By letter dated Feb. 25, 2015, AREVA suspended the review of its design certification application.

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.