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Suspended Bell Bend project clears environmental review

27 апреля 2016
Новости отрасли

Environmental impacts would not prevent the issuance of a licence to build and operate the proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Army Corps of Engineers have concluded. However, other reviews in the licensing process for the project have been suspended.

PPL Corporation submitted a construction and operating licence (COL) application to the NRC in October 2008 to build and operate an Areva US EPR reactor at the Bell Bend site, adjacent to the existing Susquehanna nuclear power plant. In 2014, PPL requested NRC withhold the safety review for the COL application until further notice. The environmental review, however, continued and the NRC issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in April 2015.

The NRC said it conducted an independent assessment of the COL application. The review — which will soon be published in the Federal Register — took into account consultations with other federal agencies, state, tribal and local governments, and considers comments received in the draft EIS.

In its final environmental impact statement, the NRC concluded that, from an environment perspective, the COL should be issued for the Bell Bend plant. “The staff concludes that, based on the assessments summarized in this EIS, the construction and operation of the proposed Bell Bend plant with mitigation measures identified by PPL would have accrued benefits that most likely would outweigh the economic, environmental and social costs associated with constructing and operating a new unit at the Bell Bend site”.

The NRC added, “The NRC staff’s evaluation of the safety and emergency preparedness aspects of the proposed action will be addressed in the staff’s safety evaluation report that is anticipated to be published in the future”.

In February 2015, Areva requested the NRC suspend its safety review of its US EPR design certification application. “As a result, the US EPR design certification review and Bell Bend safety review are on hold until further notice”, the NRC noted.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) participated in the preparation of the EIS as a cooperating agency and as a member of the review team. Its role is to determine whether certain construction activities could potentially affect lakes and waterways in the USA. The USACE will issue a separate record of decision on the work proposed for its own review and authorization.

Last June, PPL spun-off its competitive power generation business — including its nuclear capacity — into a new company, Talen Energy Corporation.

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