Talen pulls plug on nuclear plant
alen Energy Corp. has taken its final step to cancel a second nuclear power plant in Luzerne County that was first proposed nearly a decade ago.
The Allentown company said Wednesday it sent a written request to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission saying it sees no “viable path” to obtaining and operating license for its proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant.
Talen Energy spokesman Todd Martin said the company that developed the reactor design, Areva, asked the NRC in February 2015 to suspend the design-certification process. Martin said that decision did not give Talen another way of securing the license. He said it would not have been feasible to seek another design company.
Talen Energy, which in early August reported a net loss of $3 million for the second quarter, said its shortfall included an impairment charge of $122 million related to the Bell Bend project. Company officials said then they had no plans to resume licensing and permitting activities for the project, according to Martin.
The decision is also not tied to Talen Energy’s announcement in June that it had entered into a merger agreement with Riverstone Holdings LLC, Martin said. The deal is expected to be completed by year’s end. Riverstone Holdings, a private investment firm is Talen’s largest individual stockholder. Talen was formed June 1, 2015, from the combination of a PPL Corp. subsidiary, PPL Energy Supply, and Riverstone.
“There is really only one driving factor: the suspension of the Areva design,” Martin said.
Messages seeking comment from Areva and the NRC were not returned.
Martin estimated Talen Energy had spent more than $200 million on the project. He said the costs were not borne by utility ratepayers.
PPL announced in December 2007 that it intended to seek approval to build the Bell Bend reactor. The company submitted the application in October 2008 with the NRC for the site, which is adjacent to Talen Energy’s existing Susquehanna nuclear plant, approximately 75 miles northwest of Allentown.
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