Nuclear power partnership to disband

After achieving its goal of licensing the first new nuclear power plants in decades and spurring more than $2 billion in private investment in new nuclear energy development, NuStart Energy Development LLC on June 12 said it will disband and reallocate its resources back to its 10 member companies effective June 30, 2012.

Formed in 2004 with the goal of helping to lay the foundation for the next generation of nuclear plants in the U.S., the 10 utility members outlined two objectives. The first objective was to obtain a construction and operating license (COL) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) using a never-been-tested licensing process developed in 1992; the second was to complete the design engineering for the Westinghouse AP1000 technology. Both objectives were achieved in the past six months as the AP1000 reactor was approved in December 2011 and the NRC issued the COL to Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle in February.

Part of the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Power 2010 initiative, NuStart was funded by what was designed to be a 50-50 cost-shared program between the nuclear industry and the DOE. DOE funding for nuclear energy amounted to approximately $355 million. Together with Westinghouse, NuStart’s contributions amounted to approximately $975 million.

NuStart member utilities will concentrate resources on the companies’ respective nuclear projects, after the group disbands on June 30.

Members of NuStart Energy Development LLC are DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), EDF Inc., Entergy Nuclear, Exelon Generation (NYSE: EXC), Florida Power & Light Co., Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), South Carolina Electric & Gas, Southern Nuclear, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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