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NRG to apply to build reactor

September 25, 2007|From the Associated Press

washington -- Power producer NRG Energy Inc. will submit the first application for a new nuclear reactor in the U.S. in nearly 30 years, the company's chief executive said Monday.

Nuclear regulators expect this morning to receive NRG's application for two new units at its facility in Bay City, Texas, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. It would be the first complete construction and operating license submission the government has processed since before the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979.

"It's bold for us as a company, but for energy and the industry, it's a good step," said David Crane, NRG's CEO.

Constellation Energy Group Inc. has filed a partial application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which expects as many as six more requests this year from Duke Energy Corp., Dominion Resources Inc. and others. Constellation's proposed reactor would be in Lusby, Md.

Utilities see in nuclear plants an opportunity to affordably meet demand for electricity, which the Energy Information Administration is forecasting will grow 42% by 2030. High natural gas prices and the prospect of taxes or constraints on greenhouse gas emissions are making gas- and coal-fired plants less attractive.

Crane declined to say how far into the 42-month government review process NRG would go before making a final decision on whether to build the reactors. But he said the company already had ordered steel forgings, built exclusively in Japan.

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