Exelon to apply for nuclear plant license in Texas

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Exelon Corp's EXC.N nuclear unit said on Tuesday it would apply for a license for a new nuclear plant at a site in Victoria County in southeast Texas.

It will be the fifth recent license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by a U.S. company for new nuclear generating units. Prior to that, no new applications had been filed since 1977.

Exelon Nuclear said it expects to submit the license application in September 2008.

The site is an 11,500-acre tract about 20 miles south of the city of Victoria. If built, the facility will use a man-made freshwater lake for cooling.

A combined construction and operating license is required for construction of a new nuclear plant, but the application does not imply that Exelon has made a commitment to build a plant, the Chicago-based utility said.

In June, Exelon announced that both Victoria and Matagorda counties were being considered as possible sites. After field investigations and research at both locations, Victoria was chosen as the site best suited to satisfy NRC requirements as well as other federal and state laws and regulations.

Exelon expects the license application to cost about $23 million. Submitting the application in 2008 allows the company to participate in nuclear production tax credits, financial risk insurance, and federal loan guarantees specified in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, it said.

Last week Duke Energy Corp DUK.N said it filed with the NRC to build a two-unit nuclear power plant in Cherokee County, South Carolina.

Prior to the recent spate of applications, no new applications had have been filed since 1977, and several planned plants were canceled after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania that sparked a backlash against nuclear power.

The NRC has said it expects to receive 30 applications for new nuclear units as power producers seek to boost electricity generation from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide. (Reporting by Steve James; editing by John Wallace)