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The "Nuclear Power 2010 Program" was unveiled by the U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham on February 14, 2002 as one means towards addressing the expected need for new power plants. The program is a joint government/industry cost-shared effort to identify sites for new nuclear power plants, develop and bring to market advanced nuclear plant technologies, evaluate the business case for building new nuclear power plants, and demonstrate untested regulatory processes leading to an industry decision in the next few years to seek Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval to build and operate at least one new advanced nuclear power plant in the United States.

Contents

Overview

Three consortia responded in 2004 to the U.S. Department of Energy's solicitation under the Nuclear Power 2010 initiative and were awarded matching funds.

Two of the three projects will test the Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) process (that is, obtain an operating license at the same time as the construction permit, the validity of which is conditional upon the plant being built as designed).

A few U.S. areas with nuclear units are campaigning for more (Oswego, New York; Clinton, Illinois; Port Gibson, Mississippi; etc.). NuStart Energy selected a site from Oswego, Port Gibson, St. Francisville, Louisiana, Aiken, South Carolina, Lusby, Maryland and Scottsboro, Alabama — four of the sites have operating reactors, one has an unfinished nuclear power plant, and one is the Savannah River Site. Note that the other two consortia may also be looking at Lusby and Scottsboro.

On September 22, 2005 NuStart Energy selected Port Gibson (the Grand Gulf site) and Scottsboro (the Bellefonte site) for new nuclear units.[1] Port Gibson will host an ESBWR (a passively safe version of the BWR) and Scottsboro an AP1000 (a safer version of the PWR). Entergy announced it will prepare its own proposal for the River Bend Station in St. Francisville. Also, Constellation Energy of Baltimore had withdrawn its Lusby and Oswego sites from the NuStart finalist list after on September 15 announcing a new joint venture, UniStar Nuclear, with Areva to offer EPR (European Pressurized Reactors) in the U.S.A.[2] Finally, in October, 2005, Progress Energy announced it was considering constructing a new nuclear plant and had begun evaluating potential sites in central Florida.

South Carolina Electric & Gas announced on February 10, 2006 that it chose Westinghouse for a plant to be built at the V.C. Summer plant in Jenkinsville, South Carolina.[3]

NRG Energy announced in June, 2006 that it would explore building two ABWRs at the South Texas Project. (Four ABWRs are already operating in Japan and two are under construction in Taiwan at Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant.)

Energy Policy Act of 2005

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005, has a number of articles related to nuclear power, and three specifically to the 2010 Program.[4]

First, the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act was extended to cover private and DOE plants and activities licensed through 2025.

Also, the government would cover cost overruns due to regulatory delays, up to $500 million each for the first two new nuclear reactors, and half of the overruns due to such delays (up to $250 million each) for the next four reactors. Delays in construction due to vastly increased regulations were a primary cause of the high costs of some earlier plants.

Finally, "A production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 6,000 megawatt-hours from new nuclear power plants for the first eight years of their operation, subject to a $125 million annual limit. The production tax credit places nuclear energy on equal footing with other sources of emission-free power, including wind and closed-loop biomass."[5]

The Act also funds a Next Generation Nuclear Plant project at INEEL to produce both electricity and hydrogen. This plant will be a DOE project and does not fall under the 2010 Program.

Notes

See also

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