2016-09-23 / Local News

NRC to hold mandatory hearing for proposed Duke nuclear facility


The very long road in the licensing process for a new nuclear reactor will be coming to an end in the near future for Duke Energy’s proposed William States Lee nuclear station at McKowns Mountain.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Wednesday that it will conduct a mandatory hearing Oct. 5 regarding Duke’s application for combined licenses to build and operate two new reactors at the site .

This hearing marks the final step in the agency’s Part 52 reactor licensing process.

“My fellow Commissioners and I look forward to carefully evaluating whether the available safety and environmental review evidence supports the necessary regulatory findings for the licenses,” NRC Chairman Stephen G. Burns said in a prepared release. “The complex job of reviewing these applications is a critical part of our regulatory and safety mission.”

The commission’s hearing will include testimony and exhibits from Duke Energy Carolinas, as well as NRC staff, on the question of whether the staff’s review adequately supports the findings necessary to issue the licenses.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in the Commission Hearing Room at NRC Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md. The hearing will be open to public observation and will be webcast.

Duke is applying for permission to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site. Duke submitted the application Dec. 12, 2007. The NRC certified the 1,100- megawatt AP1000 design in 2011.

Duke has not yet said whether it will actually build the multi-billion dollar facility here.

“We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the mandatory hearing related to our proposed Lee Nuclear Station,” Duke spokesperson Rita Sipe said Wednesday. “The Duke Energy team has worked diligently on the development of the Lee Nuclear combined construction and operating license (COL) application and in support of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission review of the application. This mandatory hearing is the last milestone in the licensing process, and we look forward to completing the process and receiving the Lee Nuclear COL — which is an important asset to Duke Energy.”

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