TVA board advances new Alabama nuclear reactors

HOUSTON, Sept 27 (Reuters) - The board of Tennessee Valley Authority moved a step closer to seeking approval to license two new nuclear reactors in Alabama, the agency said on Thursday.

The board of the largest U.S. public power supplier approved submitting an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeking a license to build and operate two advanced nuclear units at TVA’s Bellefonte site in Hollywood, Ala.

A decision to build the plant would require further board action following the licensing process, TVA said in a release.

Licensing of new reactors in the U.S. came to a halt after the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania.

This week, Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG Energy NRG.N filed an application with the NRC seeking a license to build two reactors in Texas, the first complete request filed with the agency to construct new reactors in the United States in nearly three decades.

Last month, Constellation Energy Group Inc CEG.N and French-owned Areva CEPFi.PA submitted a partial request to build new reactors in Maryland.

The NRC expects filings from four more nuclear players before the end of the year, including the Bellefonte application, a spokesman said.

TVA’s Bellefonte site is one of two sites being considered by NuStart Energy, a consortium of 10 utilities.

“NuStart’s commitment is to continue providing the resources necessary to support quick and accurate responses as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducts its technical and environmental reviews and to ensure the application successfully earns approval,” NuStart president Marilyn Kray said in a statement.

NuStart plans to use the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design.

Bellefonte is the site where TVA deferred completion of two partially built reactors in 1988, 14 years after the NRC issued construction permits.

In 2005, TVA canceled the project and began considering the site for new advanced reactors. Costs of the canceled project were amortized over a 10-year period.

The TVA board also approved building a 600-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant at its Lagoon Creek power station in Tennessee.