Plans for new Texas nuclear power plants advance

TEXAS - North Texas came one step closer to getting new nuclear power plants when a key manufacturer asked regulators to certify a standard plant design that Energy Future Holdings might use here.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a so-called standard design certification for its US-APWR nuclear plant. That's the type of plant that Energy Future, formerly TXU Corp., is considering using to expand it Comanche Peak facility in Glen Rose.

Mitsubishi said in a news release that it will also help Energy Future prepare its application for the new plant. Last year, TXU told the NRC it would file the application in mid-2008. Since then, the power company has been purchased by private equity companies and changed its name.

Energy Future spokesman Tom Kleckner said the company isn't ready to give a more exact date for submitting the application.

He added that Energy Future hopes to have two new 1,700-megawatt reactors online around 2020. The NRC has encouraged manufacturers to apply for standard design certification to speed the process of building reactors.

That way, when a power company chooses a standard design, the NRC can skip reviewing the design itself and concentrate on the location of the plant and the operations.

In the past, the U.S. nuclear industry had no standard designs, and the NRC's process of certifying a plant took years.


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