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Meeting scheduled for June 19

By AMANDA SCOTT

Staff writer

Beginning next week, citizens have an opportunity to submit comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding foreign ownership of nuclear power plants.

On June 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., either at the Rockville headquarters or during a teleconference call, the public can comment on issues related to foreign ownership, control and domination of commercial nuclear power plants.

“In recent years, a number of licensing actions before the NRC have involved complex issues of foreign ownership, control and domination. This is likely due to the high increased globalization of the electric power industry and complexity of corporate structures generally,” an NRC press release about the public comment meeting stated.

The Atomic Energy Act and NRC regulations do not permit any applicant for a U.S. nuclear power plant operating license to be owned, controlled or dominated by a foreign nation, corporation or government.

In March, the five-member presidentially-appointed commission that oversees the NRC directed NRC staff to prepare an assessment of foreign ownership issues and propose any changes to guidance or practice that may be needed. As part of the review, the commission directed staff to “obtain stakeholder views” and then present the material to the commission no later than Dec. 31, 2013, the March memo to NRC staff said.

The decision for the assessment came after the five-member commission denied UniStar Nuclear Energy LLC’s application for Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 because of its failure to meet NRC foreign ownership requirements for U.S. power reactors. UniStar was bought out by Electricite de France in November 2010, resulting in 100-percent French ownership, and has been unable to partner with a U.S. company.

According to the NRC press release, no specific changes to guidance or regulation on foreign ownership are under consideration at this time. Currently, the press release said, staff is just requesting public comment with specific questions about the extent of indirect foreign ownership that should be allowed.

The public meeting will be held in the Commission Hearing Room, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md. To participate in the meeting via a toll-free teleconference, call 888-942-8512; the pass code is 65845#.

Written comments will be accepted through Aug. 2 and can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov using docket ID NRC-2013-0107, or by mail to Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements and Directives Branch, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, 20555-0001.

ascott@somdnews.com