NRC staff says renewables can't replace proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear plant
Prince Frederick, Maryland (Platts)--27Jan2012/753 am EST/1253 GMT
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff asserted Thursday that renewable
electricity generating sources are not a viable alternative to UniStar
Nuclear Generating Services' proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear power plant in
Andy Kugler, an NRC staff senior project director, told an Atomic Safety
and Licensing Board that an analysis staff did of wind- and solar-generating
projects that likely would be built in the state by around mid-decade total
about 300 MW.
UniStar has proposed building a 1,600-MW MW unit adjacent to Calvert
Cliffs-1 and -2 in Lusby. The company said the plant could be completed by
December 2017, if it receives a combined construction and operating license
from the NRC.
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Kugler said that even if 1,600 MW of renewable power projects were
built in the state, 400 MW would be the maximum average production by these
sources, given the variable nature of wind and solar generation.
Consequently, he said an additional 1,200-MW, natural gas-fired generator
would have to be built to assure electric grid stability.
The ASLB hearing was held to consider a challenge to an NRC Final
Environmental Impact Statement, issued March 20, 2011, that concluded
there are no renewable power alternatives to the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3
plant, should it be built. NRC requires applicants to demonstrate that a
new nuclear power plant is the best choice for new generation.
The contention was filed by anti-nuclear groups, including the Nuclear
Information and Resource Service. It alleges that the agency's staff and
UniStar, underestimated likely wind and solar projects that could supply
about the same amount of electricity as the proposed nuclear plant.
Anthony Wilson, an NRC staff attorney, told the three-judge ASLB that
hearings held in conjunction with issuing a 20-year license renewal to
Entergy's Vermont Yankee in March established that the agency consider
"remote" speculative renewable electricity generating projects when deciding
if a nuclear plant should be built or re-licensed.
The board held over the hearing to Friday in order to hear testimony
by a witness for the license challengers, who was delayed in transit from
The board is expected this year top rule on this contention, as well
another one by anti-nuclear groups and NRC staff, that challenged the
granting of a license to UniStar to built the new nuclear reactor on the
grounds the company is owned by France's EDF, Neil Sheehan, an agency
spokesman, said Thursday.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 prohibits the granting of a license to
operate a nuclear plant to any entity that is foreign-owned, controlled or
UniStar last year asked the ASLB to delay ruling on the foreign
ownership issue, saying it it seeking a US partner that would own more than
50% of the company. Laura Eifler, a UniStar spokeswoman, said Thursday the
company continues to seek a US partner.
--Jim Ostroff, firstname.lastname@example.org