NRC Denies License – UniStar and EDF Looking for Partner for Calvert Cliffs Third Reactor

The NRC denied a license Thursday to UniStar Nuclear Energy, a French-controlled company that proposed a third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Southern Maryland. UniStar will have 60 days to provide proof of progress toward a partnership with a U.S. company that meets the NRC's requirements.

At the end of those 60 days the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board would be forced to terminate the company's application proceedings entirely.

The decision follows a ruling from the NRC in April 2011 that UniStar Nuclear Energy, which is owned by Electricite de France, is not eligible to control the proposed $9.6 billion Calvert Cliffs 3 project under its current ownership structure. Federal law prohibits a foreign entity from completely owning or controlling a U.S. nuclear plant.

Regulators said in April 2011 that they would continue to process EDF's existing application for licensing while the company sought a partner.

Until November 2010, UniStar had been owned in "near-equal shares" by Constellation Energy Group and EDF.

But after Constellation pulled out of negotiations with the Department of Energy over a federal loan guarantee considered critical to the project, EDF acquired Constellation's 50 percent interest in UniStar and decided to push forward with the project on its own.

The company has said in the past that it will find a U.S. partner and ultimately complete the project.

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