The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Review of Doe’s Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program
onstrate the validity of the USNRC 10 CFR Part 52 process and its related standardization policy in assuring a reasonably predictable path to completion of design, construction, and start of operation of new nuclear plants. Two consortia of utilities responded to DOE’s request for proposal, accepting the primary goals stated above. DOE subsequently entered into contracts with the two consortia. USNRC committed to the licensing reviews required. Congress provided incentives through EPAct05 to enable the utilities to make prudent investments to build the first six plants.
The NuStart Consortium9 is made up of utilities, which include Constellation Energy, Duke, EDF-INA, Entergy, Exelon, FPL, Progress Energy, SCANA, the Southern Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the reactor suppliers GE and Westinghouse. The NuStart cooperative agreement provides for the preparation of two COL applications and the submission of one application to the USNRC following a down-selection process for one technology at one site. NuStart is currently preparing COL applications for the ESBWR at Entergy’s Grand Gulf, Mississippi, site as well as the AP1000 at Exelon’s Clinton, Illinois, site and TVA’s Bellefonte, Alabama, site.
The Dominion Consortium10 comprises Dominion, Constellation Energy, GE, and Bechtel. Its cooperative agreement includes preparation and submission of a COL for the North Anna, Virginia, site with the GE ESBWR as the selected reactor design. The designs of both the ESBWR and the AP1000 are being funded with direct cost-sharing agreements between DOE and the companies producing the reactor designs.
A TVA-led consortium has completed a study,11 under NP 2010 sponsorship, of cost, schedule, and design changes needed to deploy the GE design-certified evolutionary ABWR at the Bellefonte, Alabama, site (TVA, 2005). The consortium is not active at this time. Another consortium, Unistar, made up of Constellation Energy, AREVA, and Bechtel Power Corporation, is not participating in NP 2010 but is planning to submit an application to USNRC for a COL and the design certification of the French 1,600-MWe evolutionary pressurized water reactor (EPR) from AREVA (DOE, 2004).
The overall schedules call for obtaining the ESPs this year, the DC for the ESBWR by April 2010, the DC amendment approval for the AP1000 by July 2008, the COLs by early FY 2011, and finalization of the two designs by mid-FY 2011. The milestones for completion of the new nuclear power plant licenses by the consortia are shown in Table 2-1. The USNRC has adopted as a planning assumption that the required public hearings on ESP and COL applications will take up to 1 year to complete, following the issuance of the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) for a COL, before an ESP or a COL can be granted. This additional year is not included in the dates for USNRC approval of COLs in the DOE estimates shown in Table 2-1.
As of August 2007, a total of 14 companies, including those in Table 2-1, had announced their intent to seek a COL for a new nuclear plant: TVA, Progress Energy, Duke, South Carolina Electric and Gas, Southern, Dominion, Entergy, Constellation, Ameren, PPL, Amarillo Power, Alternate Energy Holdings, NRG, and TXU. Four of these companies are seeking, or have received, an ESP that could be referenced in a COL proceeding.
A substantial portion of the plant designs will be completed to obtain a COL, but much more remains to encompass all features of the entire plant. The 5-year program plan of DOE’s Office of Light Water Reactor Deployment for NP 2010, issued in January 2007, schedules completion of the full ESBWR design early in FY 2011 (DC in mid-FY 2010) and completion of the AP1000 first-of-a-kind engineering design in mid-FY 2011 (DC in early FY 2006). Start of construction is set at the end of FY 2010 for both designs, before design finalization.
The funding levels of the DOE cost share of NP 2010 for FY 2005, FY 2006, and FY 2007 were $49.6 million, $65.3 million, and $80.3 million, respectively. The FY 2008 budget request for NP 2010 is $114 million. As of March 2007, the DOE estimated cost to complete NP 2010 was $550 million, leaving $240.8 million for FY 2009 and FY 2010.12,13
This funding is matched by the Dominion and NuStart consortia, including both GE and Westinghouse. The level of funding is about equal for each consortium and includes the payments to the USNRC to cover their licensing work. The largest portion of the funding supports the design engineering effort. DOE reports that industry is current with its contributions.14
Industry has testified that NP 2010 funding will not maintain the program’s momentum, recommending that DOE FY 2008 funding be increased to $183 million (Bowman, 2007).
M. Kray, Exelon/NuStart, Presentation to the committee on October 17, 2006.
E. Grecheck, Dominion Energy, Presentation to the committee on October 17, 2006.
See also R. Ganthner, AREVA, Presentation to the committee on November 8, 2006.
R. Smith-Kevern, Acting Associate Director, Office of Nuclear Power Technology, DOE. “Nuclear Power 2010.” Presentation to the committee on August 24, 2006.
T. Miller, Deputy Director, “Light water reactor deployment,” Presentation to the committee on October 17, 2006.
Communication between the DOE and a committee member on September 11, 2007.