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EXELON NUCLEAR TO DESIGNATE ALTERNATE REACTOR FOR TEXAS PROJECT.

Exelon Nuclear officials are negotiating with manufacturers of alternate reactor technologies for its proposed nuclear energy development in Victoria County, Texas,

In November 2007, Exelon announced the selection of a General Electric-Hitachi reactor design as the preferred technology for the Victoria site, should Exelon decide to build the plant. That technology -- the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, or ESBWR -- is still in the early design phase.

Discussions with other reactor manufacturers began in August after an internal analysis conducted this summer showed that technologies other than the ESBWR provide the project greater commercial and schedule certainty. These improvements would enhance Exelon's ability to obtain federal loan guarantees, which the company has said are essential for financing a new nuclear development project.

As a result, Exelon is considering reactor technologies that have more mature designs, more certain cost structures and better availability of information than the ESBWR.

"We are seeking improved eligibility for federal loan guarantees, which is critical to the advancement of this project," said Thomas S. O'Neill, Exelon Nuclear's vice president for new plant development.

"We continue to believe the ESBWR and its technological advancements show great promise, but the ESBWR development schedule does not meet the needs of our Texas initiative," O'Neill said.

Exelon filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a combined construction and operating license in September. Exelon expects to decide on an alternative technology in early 2009 and will revise the license application accordingly, O'Neill said.

A combined construction and operating license is required for construction of a new nuclear energy plant, but the application does not imply that Exelon has made a commitment to build a plant. That decision is expected in 2010.

Exelon Corporation is one of the nation's largest electric utilities with nearly $19 billion in annual revenues. The company has one of the industry's largest portfolios of electricity generation capacity, with a nationwide reach and strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Exelon distributes electricity to approximately 5.4 million customers in northern Illinois and Pennsylvania and natural gas to 480,000 customers in the Philadelphia area. Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on the NYSE under the ticker EXC.

For more information, visit http://www.exeloncorp.com or call 630/657-4208.
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Publication:Worldwide Energy
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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