* NRC cannot yet issue license due to foreign ownership
* Review of application continues
* EDF says UniStar looking for U.S. partner (Recasts, adds details, quotes from EDF and NRC)
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. nuclear regulator said on Friday it cannot yet issue a license to UniStar Nuclear Energy to build a reactor at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power station in Maryland due to the company’s foreign ownership, but that UniStar could go forward if it gains a U.S. partner.
“We couldn’t issue a license in their current corporate configuration,” said Eliot Brenner, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
UniStar is owned by Electricite de France (EDF.PA).
Under U.S. law, nuclear plants cannot be owned by foreign companies. The NRC said its decision had nothing to do with the recent crippling of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan by an earthquake and tsunami.
The NRC’s review of the application will continue, while UniStar examines its options, the agency said.
EDF said UniStar was seeking a U.S. partner. “As we have consistently stated, Calvert Cliffs 3 will ultimately have a U.S. partner,” EDF said in a statement.
UniStar and U.S.-based Constellation Generation Group CEG.N submitted the application in 2007 for the project, but EDF bought out Constellation last year. [ID:nN26180877]
“While EDF and UniStar disagree with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s conclusion regarding UniStar’s present governance structure, we are pleased that the NRC will continue to review all other aspects of our pending application,” EDF said.
“UniStar and EDF will work with the NRC to resolve the governance issues prior to the issuance of the license,” it said. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner, Roberta Rampton, Ayesha Rascoe and Tom Doggett; Editing by Dale Hudson)