County Commissioners Support Expansion at Calvert Cliffs Site

The two Calvert Cliffs reactors have been operating since the 1970s. UniStar-Constellation wants to construct a 1,600-megawatt reactor.
The two Calvert Cliffs reactors have been operating since the 1970s. UniStar-Constellation wants to construct a 1,600-megawatt reactor. (By James A. Parcell -- The Washington Post)
By Michael Tunison
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Calvert County commissioners approved a letter of support Tuesday for the Evolutionary Power Reactor that UniStar-Constellation has proposed to construct at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant site near Lusby.

"Many of the decisions we make are difficult; many take months, even years," Commissioners President Wilson H. Parran (D-At Large) read from the letter drafted by Economic Development Director Linda S. Vassallo. "But the decision to support the potential expansion remains simple and uncomplicated. Nuclear energy is clean and reliable. Calvert Cliffs is a good and responsible corporate citizen in our community."

Constellation Energy Group of Baltimore filed a partial application last month with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a 1,600-megawatt reactor that could cost $4 billion. The two reactors at the Calvert Cliffs site have been operating since the 1970s.

The first portion of the application deals with the environmental impact of the reactor. The second and final part of the application, covering safety, is planned to be submitted between December and March. If the combined license is issued by the NRC, Constellation would be authorized to construct and operate the reactor, although technical review and hearings could last about three more years before final approval is granted.

NRC officials were at the commissioners' regularly scheduled meeting this week to give a presentation on the licensing and inspection process in advance of a public information meeting Tuesday evening in Solomons. The application for expansion of Calvert Cliffs, which began operations in 1975, is the first application that the NRC has received for a new nuclear power plant in nearly 30 years.

There are 104 nuclear plants fully licensed and operating in the United States, but the proposed reactor for Calvert Cliffs would be the first of its kind in this country, said Tom Bergman, deputy director of licensing operations.

"This design is already under construction in Finland and soon to be under construction in France. We're working with our international counterparts to get as much information as we can," Bergman said.

St. Mary's College Is Hot

St. Mary's College of Maryland has been selected as one of the "25 Hottest Schools" in the nation by Newsweek magazine and is featured in its 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek "How to Get Into College Guide."

The college was named "Hottest for Loving the Great Outdoors." The selection was announced Monday morning on NBC's "The Today Show."

The guide selected St. Mary's College based on admissions statistics as well as interviews with administrators, students, faculty and alumni. The publication provides information on each institution, focusing on the school's unique appeal and profile.

Of St. Mary's, the guide states: "This state school on the southern shores of Maryland has all the advantages of a small liberal-arts college without budget-breaking tuition. The academically rigorous school also has deep ties to nature. St. Mary's 1,900 undergrads take advantage of being on the St. Mary's River. . . . The sailing team won two national championships this year."

Other schools selected for the "Hottest" list include Cornell, Harvard, Georgetown, Princeton and Johns Hopkins. The 264-page guide will be available in bookstores next week.

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