Here’s One Answer: Maryland Needs Nuclear Power

By July 31, 2007Energy

Front page news in today’s Washington Post:

The first application to build a new U.S. nuclear power plant in three decades has been filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, bumping a proposed third unit at a Calvert County site to the front of a list of reactors being considered by the nuclear power industry.

Constellation Energy Group of Baltimore has filed a partial application with the NRC, asking the commission to review environmental plans for a 1,600-megawatt reactor at the Calvert Cliffs site in Lusby, Md., that could cost $4 billion.

Step by step, nuclear power’s renaissance advances, and this proposal has an exciting element to it worth watching — Constellation is seeking to build a standardized nuclear power plant, the basic model of which could be replicated around the country in the expection of reducing costs and regulatory delays.

“Perhaps the most significant contribution Constellation Energy can make would be to deploy the first standardized fleet of new nuclear power plants in almost three decades,” Constellation chief executive Mayo A. Shattuck III said last week in an earnings release.

Maryland certainly needs the power. Electric rates are high, and NIMBY-ism holds sway, blocking transmission lines and LNG development. Last week Governor O’Malley held an “energy summit” — everything’s a summit these days — and at least one quote leads one to believe his solutions are all about curbing demand (and pain, lots of pain). Supply be damned.

“These are not just kitchen-table issues,” the governor said as his energy summit got underway in the state Senate building in Annapolis. “They’re life-and-death issues for our planet. Maryland is on a dangerous and unsustainable path of consumption.”

The story reports that the governor is considering a strategy that could “include executive orders, legislative proposals or, possibly, new controls on utility companies.” Florida North, in other words.

But let’s close on a positive note. Proponents of nuclear power are making plans, spending money and moving ahead on new generations of power plants. Progress!

P.S. The New York Times today runs a major story, “Energy Bill Aids Expansion of Atomic Power.

UPDATE (11:40 a.m.): Via NEI Nuclear Notes, Bloomberg reports on the Calvert Cliffs proposal.

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