This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 16, 2008

NRC Expects Applications for 34 Nuclear Power Plants by 2010

Electric utilities in the United States are endeavoring to lower their pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions by building renewable energy facilities with zero or low emissions, but that same motivation is also leading utilities to investigate the use of nuclear power. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is currently reviewing applications for 15 new nuclear reactors at nine sites in eight states: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina (two sites), Texas, and Virginia. By the end of this year, the NRC expects to receive applications for 12 more reactors at nine sites in eight states, including two more sites in Texas, as well as sites in seven new states: Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. In 2009, the NRC expects applications for four more reactors at two sites, located in Florida and Texas, and in 2010, the commission expects applications for three more nuclear reactors at three sites. It lists Utah as the location for one of those facilities, but the details on the other two facilities have not been announced yet.

Altogether, the NRC is expecting applications for 34 new nuclear power plants located at 23 sites in at least 16 states. The applications are for "combined" licenses, which allow for both building and operating the power plants. The review process is also quite long, with the NRC expecting to hold hearings for most of the current applications starting in 2010, leading to the first new licenses possibly being issued in 2011. All of the applications also depend on the NRC issuing design certifications for the new reactor designs that the energy companies intend to employ. See the NRC's New Reactors Web page and its fact sheet on the licensing process.