USA: two requests for loan guarantee for nuclear power plants
The Dominion Virginia Power Hut submitted the first partial request to the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide a loan guarantee for the construction of the Nord-Anna-3 Nuclear Power Plant in Virginia on August 15, 2008. In July the Constellation Energy had already submitted the first application for a DOE loan guarantee for the Calvert-Cliffs-3 unit.
The loan guarantee is part of the American Energy Act, which was put into effect in mid-2005. For investment incentives for innovative low-emission.
The DOE provides a total of USD 38.5 billion (CHF 41.85 billion) for loan guarantees by the end of the 2009 financial year. Of which USD 18.5 billion for new nuclear power plants, up to USD 10 billion for renewable energies and advanced transmission and distribution projects, up to USD 2 billion for advanced «front-end» fuel cycle systems and up to USD 8 billion for advanced fossil energy projects.
Planning applications for Nord-Anna-3 …
On 27 November 2007, the energy company Dominion filed a combined construction and operating license (COL) with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a third unit at the Nordanna site. In addition to the two pressurized water reactors Nord-Anna-1 and -2 (925 MW and 917 MW) in operation, the company will also build a GEB Hitachi Nuclear Power Unit (ESBWR) Economic Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR).
… and Calvert-Cliffs-3 already submitted
A US EPR unit of Areva Inc. is planned in Calvert Cliffs. At the beginning of June 2008, the DOE had accepted the still missing second part of the comb of the UniStar energy – a joint venture of Constellation Energie and the French Electricité de France (EDF). In Calvert Cliffs, two pressurized water blocks (873 MW and 862 MW respectively) are already in operation.
Neither the COL nor the application for a loan guarantee obliges a company to a new building.
USA: Abort of talks about loan guarantee
In a letter dated 8 October 2010, the Constellation Energy Group informed the US Department of Energy (DOE) that it could not continue talks on a loan guarantee for the Calvert-Cliffs-3 nuclear power plant project.
At the DOE in July 2008 Constellation Energy submitted a request for a loan guarantee for the construction of Calvert-Cliffs-3. Just a year later, the DOE granted the request for more detailed clarification and began the talks on the conditions.
As the Constellation now states, the conditions proposed by the government for the loan guarantee are “not practicable”. The costs of the guarantee, as calculated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), were “disproportionate” and would create unacceptable risks and costs for the company. The Constellation emphasizes that this is their view of things. French Electricité de France (EDF) – constellation’s partner in the UniStar Nuclear Energy joint venture, which was set up to build and operate the US EPR pressurized water unit – was informed. According to Constellation, UniStar has not withdrawn the application for a loan guarantee and has not yet made a decision on the new project.
Restructuring of UniStar?
As a result of this initial situation, the EDF has proposed to the Constellation a restructuring of the UniStar partnership and is considering taking over the UniStar completely. Discussions about the conditions are in progress.
New buildings needed
The constellation also states in its media message that new nuclear power plants are crucial to the long-term economic, environmental and security policy interests of the USA, which is why they had worked so hard to realize Calvert-Cliffs-3. “We are deeply disappointed that the procedure for a loan guarantee has not worked out as we had hoped.”