A draft environmental impact statement released Friday indicates there are no environmental impacts that would prevent Detroit Edison from building a new reactor at its Fermi nuclear plant between Detroit, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio.The utility applied for a combined license to build a GE-Hitachi Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor in 2008, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced a hearing on the DEIS will be held Dec. 15 in Monroe, Mich. The agency’s timeline for the license process estimates the final EIS will be complete a little more than a year from now, while a concurrent safety review should result in a Final Safety Evaluation Report in 2013.The ESBWR is a 1,600-megawatt-electric plant that uses natural circulation and other passive safety systems. The design also trims back the number of mechanical systems, and GE-Hitachi estimates build costs are 30 percent to 40 percent lower than for other reactors. The NRC issued an FSER and final design approval for the ESBWR in March, with a final rulemaking expected soon.
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