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Entergy suspends applications for two new reactors in Mississippi and Louisiana

The so-called “nuclear renaissance” was exposed as a house of cards on January 9, 2009 when New Orleans-based

Entergy Nuclear asked the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend review of two applications to build new reactors in Port Gibson, Mississippi and River Bend, Louisiana. Entergy had submitted the applications to construct and operate the General Electric/Hitachi Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR). But the design has proven to be neither economic nor simple. The NRC is reviewing hundreds of stubborn technical problems for the half-baked design. Entergy was unable to reach agreement with Hitachi as to how to resolve the technical issues but had reportedly already pre-ordered ESBWR parts on July, 27 2007.

Entergy now joins Exelon Nuclear, the Chicago-based nuclear power company, which similarly withdrew its application to build and operate an ESBWR design in November 2008 in Victoria, Texas. Two other nuclear power companies, Virginia-based Dominion and Michigan-based DTE, are still pursuing applications for permission to build ESBWRs in Mineral, Virginia and Monroe, Michigan, respectively. However, Dominion announced on January 9 an impasse on its agreement with Hitachi and is looking for a new construction partner to press onward into the fog.

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