Caption: Fermi nuclear power plant
Michigan-based DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) was approved to build and operate a nuclear reactor at the Fermi nuclear power plant in Michigan.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded its mandatory hearing on DTE’s application for a combined license to build and operate a 1,600 MW GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy-designed economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR) at the site adjacent to a currently operating reactor. The NRC imposed several conditions on the license, including specific actions associated with post-Fukushima requirements for mitigation strategies and spent fuel pool instrumentation; requiring monitoring and analysis of the reactor’s steam dryer during initial plant startup; and setting a pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency preparedness plans and procedures.
DTE submitted the application on Sept. 18, 2008. The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently reviewed the safety aspects and provided results of its safety review to the commission in September 2014. The NRC completed the environmental review and issued a final impact statement in January 2013, and completed and issued the final safety evaluation report on Nov. 18, 2014.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy congratulated DTE on earning the license. “With this license, DTE Energy now possesses the most diverse, comprehensive slate of options to plan for Michigan’s energy future,” said Steven Kurmas, DTE Energy’s president and chief operating officer. “The potential of additional nuclear energy gives us the option of reliable, base-load, generation that does not emit greenhouse gases.”
The Nuclear Energy Institute also praised DTE and the NRC for the license.
“Since nuclear energy facilities already are reliably and affordably producing 90 percent of Michigan’s carbon-free electricity, it makes perfect sense for DTE Energy to bank a combined construction and operating license for a potential new reactor,” said Richard Myers, vice president for Policy Development and Planning with NEI.
The ESBWR design includes passive safety features in which the reactor can cool itself for seven days without electricity or human intervention.
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