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NRC considers enforcement

By MEGHAN RUSSELLStaff writer

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently considering whether to impose escalated enforcement action against Constellation Energy Nuclear Group for a failure to provide information associated with the corporate restructuring of parent company Constellation and Electricite de France in 2010.

A letter from the NRC sent to CENG last week informs the company that its apparent violation involves the “non-willful failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NRC related to its requests for direct and/or indirect transfers of the operating licenses for the Calvert Cliffs, Nine Mile Point and Ginna nuclear power plants,” according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. The transfers were requested to facilitate an investment in Constellation by EDF, by which EDF would acquire 49.99 percent of the company.

Sheehan said CENG originally requested the transfers in January 2009 and supplemented the application in April 2009. The NRC approved the request on Oct. 9, 2009. Shortly after, CENG requested that the NRC issue modifying orders to clarify that the license transfers would not occur together, but rather in a phased manner over an eight-day period.

The NRC then issued the new orders on Oct. 30, 2009, and later determined that CENG had submitted this additional information to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Maryland Public Service Commission in May of that year, “calling into question why the company did not provide it to the NRC in advance of the original orders being issued,” Sheehan wrote in an email. “This prompted an investigation by the NRC’s Office of Investigations, which concluded that the failure to inform the NRC sooner resulted from inadequate communication within Constellation and was not willful.”

The NRC is now proceeding with enforcement. In response to the letter, CENG may request a pre-decisional enforcement conference with the NRC or may submit a written response for the NRC’s consideration. If CENG declines those options, Sheehan said the NRC would proceed with issuing the enforcement.

CENG did not respond to questions regarding the violation as of press time.

mrussell@somdnews.com