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Exelon files application with NRC

By JJ VELASQUEZ
March 25, 2010 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated March 24, 2010 at 10:25 p.m.


IF YOU GO

WHAT: Nuclear Regulatory Commission public meeting

WHY: To discuss NRC safety and environmental reviews for Exelon Nuclear's early site permit application in Victoria.

WHEN: April 15; open house: 6 to 7 p.m., outreach meeting: 7 to 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Victoria Community Center Mini Dome, 2905 E. North St.

Open to the public

Exelon Nuclear filed a mountain of paperwork with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday.

If approved, the 6,000-plus-page early site permit application keeps alive the company's prospects of building a plant in Victoria. The permit also allows Exelon to wait out the recession.

Mayor Will Armstrong said the news is encouraging, although he added plans remain tentative.

"All I know is that we're still on their radar screen. I think that's a real good sign," Armstrong said. "The national economy, in part, seems to be improving, and we're still part of their picture."

At most, Exelon would have 40 years to begin work on a power plant in Victoria if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves the project.

The nuclear energy company first announced plans to potentially build a plant in the county in 2007. Then, national and international recession took hold.

The permit, if approved by the regulatory agency, would give Exelon three to 20 years to decide whether to build a plant here. The company can extend the permit for another 20 years, giving Exelon up to 40 years to begin construction.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will review Exelon's application for three to four years in order to evaluate the project's environmental impact and safety preparedness.

The nuts and bolts of the plant are not established, but the permit submission encompasses a generic scope of parameters.

The regulatory commission will hold a public meeting on April 15 at the Victoria Community Center to explain what the review process entails.

The meeting also serves as a forum for the public to voice concerns. Nuclear power faces stiff opposition from local groups such as the Texans for a Sound Energy Policy Alliance, which, in part, worries Exelon will deplete water sources.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said a nuclear power plant offers a significant number of jobs for the area. Fowler is encouraged by Exelon's most recent step toward bringing a proposed 11,500-acre site to Victoria County.

"This continues to build and maintain the confidence that one day Exelon will have a nuclear power facility in Victoria County," Fowler said.

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