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NRC denies license for third reactor in Maryland

NRC denies license for third reactor in Maryland

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ANNAPOLIS — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission can’t issue a license to a French company to build a new nuclear power plant in Maryland as long as the company is completely foreign owned, a panel of judges ruled Thursday.

The 29-page ruling on the application to build a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs was made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. The ruling noted that the 1954 Atomic Energy Act prohibits the NRC from issuing a reactor license to any company owned by a foreign corporation or government.

When UniStar Nuclear first applied to build the reactor at a site in the town of Lusby in 2007, it was a joint venture between Maryland-based Constellation Energy Group, Inc., and the French company Electricite de France. In late 2010, EDF bought Constellation’s portion.

“The license cannot be granted as long as the current ownership arrangement is in effect,” the judges wrote.

The two current reactors at Calvert Cliffs are operated by Constellation.

The ruling gives UniStar 60 days to provide proof of progress toward a partnership with a U.S. company that meets the NRC’s requirements.

“Given the apparent lack of progress in finding potential U.S. partners, the amount of time that has elapsed since applicants became 100 percent foreign owned, and the current economic climate, we are not willing to grant applicants an indefinite amount of time to resolve this deficiency because doing so would be counter to the commission’s policies and regulations,” the judges wrote.

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