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

California Capsule: Judge Says 'Time Not Ripe' for PG&E Suit

LCG, May 3, 2001A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. asking that the California Public Utilities Commission be ordered to grant the utility authority to collect $10 billion from state electricity customers.

Steve Maviglio, the spokesman for Gov. Gray Davis, saw the action by Los Angeles U.S. District Court Judge Ronald S. W. Lew as "a win for California ratepayers," but what the judge said was "PG&E's claims are not yet ripe for review."

PG&E got in its own way in the lawsuit, which seeks to recover the cost of power it purchased for its customers. The company's other legal challenges to CPUC take precedence over the lawsuit.

"PG&E may refile its action once the CPUC interim orders it challenges become final decisions," Lew said in his ruling.

In a two paragraph statement in response to Lew's ruling, PG&E said "Upon initial review, it appears the court rejected arguments the California Public Utilities Commission made to dismiss our federal lawsuit except on the issue of "ripeness.

"The court determined that our lawsuit was premature because the CPUC had not yet finalized its various decisions on PG&E's request for recovery of its costs to purchase wholesale power," the company continued. "The court said that we may re-file the lawsuit once the CPUC decisions become final. Today's action allows us to pursue the merits of the case on a timely basis."

In its lawsuit, PG&E contends that, because it had paid off its stranded cost debts by August 2000, it should have at that time been allowed to pass on to its customers the wholesale prices it was forced to pay for power.

There was also action in other California courtrooms yesterday.

  • California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante said he's suing five major power producers on behalf of California taxpayers to recover alleged excess profits the companies reaped on power sales to the state since January 17.. Defendants in the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court are Duke Energy Corp., Dynegy Inc., Mirant Corp., Reliant Energy Inc. and The Williams Cos.
    "If there was a natural disaster and someone was gouging, say someone was the only supplier of clean water, we can go after those types of folks under state law," Bustamante said.
    Mirant spokesman Brian O'Neel said "We have done nothing wrong and have played by the rules in place before we got here."

  • When California's electric deregulation law was passed in 1996, the rules required the state's investor-owned utilities to sell off their conventional power plants. That requirement, changing ownership of the plants from regulated utilities to unregulated private businesses, will result in the very companies Bustamante is suing saving millions of dollars in property taxes.
    When the plants belonged to the utilities, the California Board of Equalization had authority to asses their value for property tax purposes. But, a year and a half ago, the BOE voted unanimously to transfer the assessment authority to the counties in which the plants are located. Enter Proposition 13, the landmark law passed by state voters in 1978 to hold down property taxes. Under that law, counties cannot raise assessments by more than 2 percent a year over the purchase price.
    If the BOE had retained the authority, the plants could be assessed at full market value, and that value has shot up right along with the price of the power they produce.
    "Everybody wanted this at the time," said BOE member Johan Klebs, who was chairman when the vote was taken.

  • President George Bush today will order federal workers to cut back on their use of electricity in an effort to ease power shortages in California and elsewhere. The president's message will direct that thermostats in federal building be set at 78F and will allow casual dress on hot days the sort of days the California Independent System Operator declares power emergencies.
    Maviglio, apparently speaking for himself and not the governor, said "While I appreciate the president's proposal, surely the federal government can do more and match California's 20 percent savings at all state buildings." There is no evidence that the state buildings have cut power use by 20 percent.

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