TheU.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers haveissued a final environmental impact statement for 's proposed 1,600-MWBell Bend nuclear project in Luzerne County, Pa.
TheNRC announced onApril 26 that the agency and Army Corps of Engineers issued a that concluded environmentalimpact of the nuclear project does not prevent the issuing of a combinedlicense for the new reactor that is slated to be built about a half-mile fromTalen Energy's existing Susquehannanuclear plant. According to the NRC, the environmental review supported theArmy Corps' review of the Bell Bend combined license application. The corps isset to issue a separate record detailing its decision and review of Bell Bend.
TalenEnergy spokesman Todd Martin acknowledged in a statement that the completion ofthe environmental impact review is a project milestone for Bell Bend but thatit does not speed up the project's timeline, as its design certificationapplication and safety review remain on hold. "Although we have not made afinal determination on the license application process, Talen Energy does notexpect to make significant additional investments in the Bell Bend project inthe near term," he said.
Theproject's original developer, PPLCorp., on Oct. 10, 2008, submitted the combined license applicationthat sought permission to construction and operate the U.S. Evolutionary PowerReactor, a pressurized-water reactor design not yet certified by the NRC. The designerof the reactor, AREVA,in February 2015 asked the NRC to suspend its safety review of the designcertificate application. Since then, the design certification review of thenuclear reactor and the safety review of Bell Bend have been on hold.
PPLCorp. estimated in2012 that the costs for Bell Bend were between $12 billion and $15 billion.Independent power producer Talen Energy was formed in June 2015 when competitivegeneration assets spun off from PPL Corp. were combined with assets owned byprivate equity firm RiverstoneHoldings LLC.