NRC issues licenses for Duke’s 2,234-MW William States Lee III project

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Dec. 21 that it issued on Dec. 19 two Combined Licenses (COL) for Duke Energy Carolinas’ William States Lee III site in South Carolina.

The licenses authorize Duke to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site, located near Gaffney, S.C. The commission authorized the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue the licenses, having found the staff’s review of Duke’s application adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.

The licenses contain conditions, including:

  • Specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for Mitigation Strategies and Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation; and
  • A pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency preparedness plans and procedures.

Duke had submitted the application for this 2,234-MW project in December 2007. The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently reviewed aspects of the application that concern safety, as well as the staff’s final safety evaluation report. The committee provided the results of its review to the commission in December 2015. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the final impact statement for the proposed William States Lee reactors in December 2013.

The NRC had certified the AP1000 design in 2011. The COL application incorporated the Design Control Document (DCD) for a simplified passive advanced light water reactor plant provided by Westinghouse Electric Corp., the entity originally sponsoring and obtaining the AP1000 design certification.

William States Lee III Nuclear Station (WLS) Units 1 and 2 would be located in the eastern portion of Cherokee County in north central South Carolina.

Said Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) about this project in its Feb. 25 annual Form 10-K report: “In December 2007, Duke Energy Carolinas applied to the NRC for a COL for two Westinghouse AP1000 (advanced passive) reactors for the proposed William States Lee III Nuclear Station (Lee Nuclear Station) at a site in Cherokee County, South Carolina. Submitting the COL application did not commit Duke Energy Carolinas to build nuclear units. Through several separate orders, the [North Carolina Utilities Commission] and [Public Service Commission of South Carolina] concurred with the prudency of Duke Energy Carolinas incurring certain project development and pre-construction costs, although recovery of costs is not guaranteed. Duke Energy Carolinas has incurred approximately $471 million, including AFUDC through December 31, 2015.” 

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.