By Tim Mekeel
PPL Corp. keeps propping open the window of opportunity to build a new nuclear plant.
The firm has started to apply to the U.S. Department of Energy for a federal loan guarantee, which the company would use to secure financing for plant construction.
PPL said Monday it will submit the second part of the application by the Dec. 19 deadline.
At the same time, PPL said it’s preparing its application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate the plant.
It expects to submit its license application by year-end.
All of these moves will allow PPL to go forward with the construction of the new nuclear plant, if it chooses to do so.
But that decision is several years away, PPL reiterated on Monday, and will hinge on whether it gets the loan guarantee and license, the future energy market and whether it can attract partners in the venture.
For more than a year, PPL has said it might want to build another nuclear plant someday.
While PPL has yet to decide whether to go forward, it has made a number of choices regarding the facility.
It would be named Bell Bend, sited near its existing two-unit nuclear plant in Berwick and have one unit that produces 1,600 megawatts.
In comparison, the Berwick plant – PPL’s largest – produces 2,370 megawatts.
Bell Bend would use the Evolutionary Power Reactor designed by AREVA of France. Plants using this technology now are under construction in Finland, France and China.
Costing about $10 billion to develop, Bell Bend would take seven to eight years to construct and begin operating in 2016 or 2017, said PPL spokesman Dan McCarthy.
(c) 2008 Intelligencer Journal. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.