My Maryland neighbors – UniStar Nuclear – have some new reasons to celebrate.
George Chapman’s Amarillo Power has notified the NRC that it now intends to purchase two UniStar Nuclear’s Evolutionary Pressurized Reactors (EPR) instead of two GE ABWRs. At the same time, Amarillo Power also announced its intention to skip the step of applying for an Early Site Permit (ESP) and instead will file a Combined Construction Permit and Operating License Application during the last quarter of 2008.
Mr. Chapman has made it clear that he plans to win the race to build and operate the first new US nuclear plant ordered since 1973. (There were orders placed for nuclear power plants after that period, but none of them were ever completed.) There is a good reason for wanting to be first – the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has several incentives that will only be offered to the first six plants operating and some of those incentives are higher for the earliest plant. In particular, the first unit receives substantially more protection against delays caused by government action.
If you want to read more about Amarillo Power and George Chapman, I highly recommend the article titled Nuke plans shift: Developer to work with new reactor partner. Since you will have to register to read the story anyway, you might also want to search Amarillo.com for previous stories about the project.
There was a flurry of reports in August of 2006 and not much since then, but quiet periods for a new business often indicate periods of activity so intense that there is no time for issuing press releases. Of course, if you are in a race, it does not hurt to quietly build a big lead while your competition is not paying much attention.