NRC Issues Early Site Permit to Tennessee Valley Authority for SMRs at Clinch River Site

LCG, December 27, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced on December 17 that the Commission has authorized the issuance of an Early Site Permit (ESP) for Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA's) Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ESP closes several site-related issues, including many environmental impacts, for small modular reactors (SMRs) at the site. The ESP is the first issued by the NRC for SMRs and will be valid for up to 20 years from date of issuance.

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NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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Industry News

AEP Finishes Building Texas Wind Farm

LCG, Nov. 20, 2001--American Electric Power Co. Inc. said this morning that it had completed one of the largest wind farms in the U.S. as "the first step toward strategic growth in renewable generation."

AEP said it has finished building the 150 megawatt (nameplate capacity) Trent Mesa Wind Project near Abilene, Texas, which began producing electricity last summer. The wind farm, the fourth largest now operating in the United States, includes 100 wind turbines, each standing 328 feet tall on about 13 square miles. Construction of the wind farm cost approximately $160 million, the company said.

Before making the investment, AEP made sure it had a buyer for the power. "We are actively working to increase the renewable portion of AEP's generation portfolio, following the same model we use for any generation project -- securing a contract for the power before we build the plant," said Thomas Shockley, chief operating officer.

AEP said it expects Trent Mesa to generate more than 590 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, which would represent a capacity factor of 44.9 percent -- probably out of reach for any wind farm. In a 1995 report, the California Energy Commission said the wind farms in that state produced only 18 percent of their nameplate capacity. Some backers of wind power claim that a capacity factor of 35 percent is possible, but production figures over a multi-year period have yet to back them up.

Shockley noted that Trent Mesa is the first significant wind farm in AEP's generation portfolio and said it "showcases AEP's wide array of capabilities. We developed the project, determined the appropriate site and negotiated a long-term contract for the electricity."

But AEP will not let green power go to its head. "Wind is a viable energy source, but it may not be the right choice for all areas," Shockley said. "It is vital for our nation's energy security that all sources of electricity generation -- coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and wind or other renewables -- continue to play a role in the total generation mix."

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