Here's an article from todays Amarillo paper:
Board sets rules for nuclear plant
By Karen Smith Welch
Publication Date: 08/17/06
The Amarillo Economic Development Corp. on Wednesday gave Amarillo Power - or any other "qualified applicant" - a big to-do list before it will consider pouring funds into the company's $6 billion nuclear power plant proposal.
Representatives of Amarillo Power and other companies involved in the plan to build a two-unit, 2,700-megawatt nuclear reactor here said they're pleased to get the conditional support, adding the checklist mirrors requirements they must meet anyway to obtain federal licensing.
AEDC board members pledged no funds to Amarillo Power, instead voting 4-1 to approve a non-exclusive commitment to any company that completes the site evaluation and environmental studies necessary to apply for an early site permit or construction/operating license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Once those conditions are met, the AEDC might consider providing up to $50 million in incentives and assistance in seeking state funding for infrastructure or tax abatements from local taxing authorities.
Board member Rick Crawford voted against the AEDC support memorandum due to concerns about the plan.
"There are a number of unanswered questions, starting with, 'Do we have enough water?' and maybe ending with, 'Is there any plan to transmit the power out of this region if it's produced?'"
Crawford said he didn't see the point of endorsing the idea of a nuclear power plant at this stage in the process.
"It's a meaningless document," he said. "It didn't say anything. Those questions have got to be answered, and I don't see that we're forwarding the development of a plant by voting on a noncommittal commitment."
The City Commission still must put its stamp of approval on the memorandum. Commissioners are expected to vote on the matter Tuesday, AEDC President and Chief Executive Officer Buzz David said.
Developer George Chapman, who formed Amarillo Power, and a Bechtel Corp. official called the conditional endorsement the show of public support they need to pursue the licensing application.
"It's just knowing that you've got the political and community support, as much as anything," said John Polcyn, vice president of Bechtel Power, which would be involved in helping Amarillo Power through the NRC licensing process. "I think it will do."
The memorandum adopted by the AEDC board is designed to lay out terms for future support, David said.
"This is the beginning of a conversation and a process, not the end," he said.
Board member Bob Williams said much the same.
"It is an action that we hope will begin a study that could result in future actions," he said. "It won't necessarily result in future actions.
"Our financial involvement and future action or support, or lack thereof, would be years in the future, based on the amount of study that would have to occur before we got to that point."
To be considered for incentives, Amarillo Power, or any other "qualified applicant," must prove it has the financial resources for construction and operation; complete environmental and other site evaluation analyses required for licensing; and secure an adequate water supply and infrastructure for the project.
"The AEDC didn't ask for anything that the NRC doesn't have in its requirements," Chapman said. "And we're going to meet all those requirements."
Chapman said Crawford's questions should be answered in the process.
"He has an opinion, and it's his own opinion, and I respect that," Chapman said. "All those things will be answered to the NRC."
The AEDC limited nuclear power projects it will consider to the Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Potter, Randall, Carson and Armstrong counties.
Chapman said the geographical limitation shouldn't be a problem.
"We hope, right now, that it will be in one of those four counties," he said, declining to specify sites being considered.
Any site offered up during the site permit and licensing process must be approved by the NRC.
An offer of AEDC funding this early in the game would amount to venture capital not guaranteed to secure permanent jobs, David said. But if it comes to fruition, the plant could employ 500 to 1,000 skilled, high-wage workers.
"We are looking at trying to incentivize full-time, permanent primary jobs, not construction jobs, not the licensing process and so forth," he said.
The $50 million figure "is probably less than 1 percent of the total development cost of a project of this magnitude," David said. "I think we wanted to communicate to anyone who saw this that, if this is right for our region - meaning the community is in support of it - we wanted to send a message that we would be willing to step up and provide a level of support."
Though it opens the door to competition, the AEDC memorandum states that the first project with a completed application will get AEDC attention first.
Polcyn said he knows of no competitors for an Amarillo project and, if one appears, it probably could not "accelerate past where we are" in the licensing process.
- Globe-News reporters Jim McBride and Kevin Welch contributed to this report.
New plant status
These are the power companies, their proposed plants, locations and estimated date for submission of an application for a construction/operating license:
Amarillo Power, after fourth quarter 2007;
Dominion, North Anna Plant, Virginia, Nov. 2007;
Tennessee Valley Authority, Bellefonte, Ala., Oct. 2007;
Entergy, River Bend, La., 2008;
Southern Company, Vogtle, Ga., March 2008;
Progress Energy, Harris, N.C., Oct. 2007;
South Carolina Electric & Gas, South Carolina, Oct. 2007;
Duke, William States Lee, South Carolina, Oct. 2007;
Constellation, Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, fourth quarter 2007;
South Texas Project, STP, Texas, late 2007.
Source: Nuclear Energy Institute
Any company seeking funding from the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. for a proposed nuclear power plant project here must demonstrate the following:
That it is a financially viable entity capable of developing and securing funding for the facility and its operation;
That it owns or controls a suitable site, including site evaluation documentation necessary to obtain an early site permit or construction/operating license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission;
That the project has adequate roads, utilities and other infrastructure to support it;
That it has an agreement for installation and life-of-the-project use of a NRC-certified reactor design;
That it owns or controls an adequate water supply for plant construction and operation;
That it has transmission capability for all power produced;
That it has engaged a qualified engineer/operator for design, construction and operation;
That it is commercially viable, including producing a sales and marketing plan.
Source: Amarillo Economic Development Corp.