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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved March 25 the direct transfer of operating licenses from Constellation Energy Nuclear Group LLC subsidiaries to Exelon Generation Co. LLC for five nuclear power reactors, including the two reactors located at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, according to a press release from the NRC.

The decision follows Exelon’s February 2012 merger with Constellation Energy Group. The NRC approved the indirect transfer of the operating licenses in 2012, the release states.

The direct transfer of licenses means Exelon is able to operate, not just own, the facilities at Calvert Cliffs and three other reactors at two power plants in New York.

Electricite de France and Exelon remain co-owners of CENG, with Exelon owning 50.01 percent of CENG and EDF 49.99 percent, according to a press release from Exelon.

Rather than reporting to CENG, the company now reports to Exelon, said Maureen Conley, public affairs officer for the NRC.

The consolidation is not a purchase or transfer of assets, just an organizational and operational re-alignment, according to a press release from Exelon.

“What changes now is that Exelon is kind of the parent,” Conley said. “For all practical purposes, the only thing that changes is the name outside the plant.”

In addition, the employees working at Calvert Cliffs now work for Exelon, not CENG, Conley said.

“The transfer of the licenses will not result in any physical changes to the facilities. The on-site organizations and plant staffs, including senior managers, will remain essentially unchanged by the license transfers,” the press release from the NRC states.

The application was approved because Exelon needed the authorization to be an operator. It didn’t have the need during the merger in 2012, Conley said.

For a variety of reasons, including electricity market conditions and fleet performance levels, Exelon and EDF decided last July that it was time to seek the transfers, said David Tillman, senior manager of communications for Exelon.

Also in 2012, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied an application for a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs because of its failure to meet NRC foreign ownership requirements for U.S. power reactors. The commission that oversees the NRC denied a petition for an appeal on the decision in March 2013.

The transfers do not change the company’s plans for a third reactor.

“While Exelon continues to grow, there are no current plans to construct a third operating unit at the Calvert Cliffs site,” Tillman said in a statement.

sfleischman@somdnews.com