Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. power company Duke Energy Corp’s proposed Lee nuclear power plant in South Carolina passed an environmental test but still has a long way to go to receive a construction and operating license, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Friday.
The NRC said its staff concluded there are no environmental impacts to preclude issuing licenses to build and operate two 1,117-megawatt reactors at the proposed Lee station in Cherokee County, South Carolina.
Duke applied for the license to build two of Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactors at the Lee site in December 2007.
Westinghouse Electric is majority owned by Japanese multinational Toshiba Corp.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.
The NRC said it developed a so-called final environmental impact statement jointly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The NRC looks at both the environmental and safety impacts of building a new reactor. The NRC said its staff is still working on the final safety evaluation.
In addition, the NRC said its five Commissioners will conduct a separate hearing regarding the application and the staff’s review, when completed.
While the Lee review activities continue, the NRC said it will not make any final reactor license decisions until at least late 2014.
In August 2012, the NRC said it would not issue new reactor licenses until it reviews the environmental impact of storing spent nuclear fuel at temporary sites, such as nuclear power plants, due in part to a lack of a permanent waste storage facility. That self-imposed moratorium followed a federal court ruling in June 2012.
The NRC said it expects to complete its waste confidence rule making in September 2014.
For a factbox on proposed new U.S. nuclear reactors