Areva files with NRC to certify U.S, power reactor

NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - French nuclear engineering company Areva SA CEPFi.PA filed on Tuesday with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to certify its U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR), said Ray Ganthner, Senior Vice President of Areva's New Plants Deployment group.

Ganthner said the company started preparing the certification application three years ago, and expects the NRC to take about two years to certify the design.

The certification, which Ganthner said would cost about $200 million, will make the U.S. EPR available to companies interested in building a new reactor in the United States.

Areva expects UniStar Nuclear Energy, of Baltimore, to file the first application with the NRC to build a U.S. EPR at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.

UniStar submitted a partial Combined License Application to the NRC to build a new reactor in July 2007 and plans to submit the rest of the application by March 2008.

The NRC said in November that it expects to receive 21 applications to build 32 reactors in 2007-2009.

UniStar has said its target is to complete the first U.S. reactor by December 2015.

UniStar, of Baltimore, is a joint venture between Constellation Energy Group Inc CEG.N, which owns the Calvert Cliffs site, and France's EDF Group EDF.PA, which operates several reactors in France.

Ganthner could not say what a new U.S. EPR would cost, noting the costs vary with the site.

On its Web site, UniStar estimated the first four units would cost about $2,400 per kilowatt, or $3.84 billion for a 1,600 MW unit. One megawatt powers about 800 homes in the United States.

Areva expects to install the U.S. EPRs at four sites, including Constellation's Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, Constellation's Nine Mile in New York, Ameren Corp's AEE.N Callaway in Missouri and PPL Corp's PPL.N Susquehanna in Pennsylvania.

In addition, two other companies have expressed interest in using the U.S. EPR design - Amarillo Power in Texas and Alternate Energy Holdings in Idaho. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio)