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Calvert Cliffs, Maryland

On November 15, 2005, Constellation Energy and its French partner AREVA, operating as a consortium known as UniStar, formally narrowed the list of sites being considered for their first new reactor permit to two: Nine Mile Point, in upstate New York, and Calvert Cliffs, in Maryland.  The Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant is located in Lusby, MD.  The nuclear power plant, which is situated on the Chesapeake Bay, has two existing reactors.

In 2007, UniStar confirmed that their first proposal would be in Maryland. In response, Public Citizen, Maryland Public Interest Research GroupBeyond Nuclear, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, members of the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, and other local activists formed the Chesapeake Safe Energy Coalition.  The coalition's mission is to oppose the proposed new reactor at Calvert Cliffs and to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in Maryland.

Constellation Energy initially speculated that the project would cost upwards to $5 billion. Recent estimates have put the cost closer to $10 billion.  In a move to secure partial financing for the project, Constellation Energy has launched a joint venture with the French owned utility, EDF.  The terms of the partnership, which was announced on July 20, 2007, include 50/50 ownership in UniStar Nuclear Energy and a $625 million investment in UniStar by EDF. In addition, Constellation Energy has already secured $300 million worth of tax breaks from Calvert County if the reactor is built. To secure the rest of the capital needed to construct a new reactor, Constellation Energy CEO, Mayo Shattuck, has stated that the Energy Department needs to agree to back 100 percent of the debt.  This is based on the fact that lenders are reluctant to gamble billions of dollars on an industry that has historically had enormous cost overruns and regulatory issues.

On July 13, 2007, UniStar submitted a partial Combined Operating License (COL) application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  The documents submitted account for the environmental aspects of the application.  The safety analysis portion of the application was submitted on April 1, 2008.  The regulatory review is expected to take approximately three years, and construction is expected to take about four years.  The best-case scenario (from UniStar’s perspective) would see the new reactor operational in 2015.

To view UniStar's application, click here.

At the state level, Unistar is currently pursuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity.  The permit is being reviewed by the Maryland Public Service Commission, who is expected to rule on the issuance of the permit by the end of 2008.  If issued, Unistar could begin some construction activities as early as November 2009.

If you would like to get involved in stopping the construction of new nuclear plants in Maryland, please email us and let us know how you’d like to help.  To find out more about the campaign to stop a new nuclear reactor in Maryland, visit the Chesapeake Safe Energy Coalition website.  They can provide you with information and opportunities to get involved in the Maryland Clean Energy Campaign.

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