18 February 2009 – Five nuclear projects are on a Department of Energy short list to receive $18.5 billion in government-backed loans, according to Reuters. The number narrowed to five from 14 last year.
Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Co.; NRG Energy's South Texas Project Units 3 & 4, both in Texas; Unistar Nuclear's Calvert Cliffs 3 reactor in Maryland; and SCANA Corp/Santee Cooper's two-unit expansion at the Summer station in South Carolina are among five projects still under DOE consideration, officials said.
Last year, developers of 14 new nuclear plants requested DOE guarantees totaling $122 billion, exceeding the program's budget.
George Vanderheyden, president of Unistar Nuclear Energy, a joint venture of Constellation Energy and EDF Group of France, said DOE told the company this month it was one of five projects in the running.
"We were quite excited to reach that next step," Vanderheyden said in the Reuters report.
A spokesman for Comanche Peak Nuclear, a joint venture of Dallas-based Luminant, part of Energy Future Holdings, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, confirmed with Reuters that the company was also on the short list. The venture is considering two new reactors at Luminant's existing Comanche Peak site in north Texas.
"We have been notified that we are still in the running," said Mollie Gore, spokeswoman for Santee Cooper, a state-owned electric and water utility, and partner in the Summer expansion with SCANA's South Carolina Electric & Gas unit. Last week state regulators approved SCE&G's $9.8 billion plan for two reactors.
With a cost of $5 billion to $12 billion for each new reactor, depending on size and design, the DOE program is expected to fund only a few projects. The DOE process will determine which new reactors get built, NRG's CEO said.
Stories of interest: