The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review the Exelon Nuclear Texas Holdings Early Site Permit (ESP) application for the Victoria County site near Victoria, Texas.

The application and associated information were initially submitted on March 25 and is available, minus proprietary and security-related details, on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/esp/victoria.html.

Exelon’s application seeks approval for safety and environmental issues for the site, approximately 13 miles south of Victoria.  If approved by the NRC this would give Exelon three to 20 years to decide whether to build a plant in Victoria County. It can be extended for another 20 years, giving the company up to 40 years to begin construction from the time that the NRC approves the permit.

Now the site permit application will undergo a three- to four-year review process by the NRC in which it will evaluate the project’s environmental impact and safety preparedness.

Water use figures prominently into the concerns of many. The Guadalupe River is the designated water source for the possible power plant, and Exelon has a water reservation agreement with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) that expires in 2013.

In the agreement with the GBRA, Exelon reserved 75,000 acre-feet of water every year.  The plant’s water use supercedes that of other water users, including the city of Victoria and farmers in the region.  Given other Texas river authorities’ concerns about adequate water availability coming off of a 2 year drought, this should be a serious concern for the region.

The NRC docket number for this application is 52-042.  At some point, the agency will  publish a notice letting the public know that they will have an opportunity to intervene in the required adjudicatory hearing. Petitions to intervene in a hearing may be filed within 60 days of the notice, by anyone whose interest may be affected by the proposed license and who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding. More information on the hearing process is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/adjudicatory/hearing.html.

More information about the new reactor licensing process is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors.html.


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