By Baltimore Business Journal

Constellation Energy Group Inc. CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III warned time may be running out for its proposal to build a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs.

The Baltimore energy giant has eagerly awaited approval of a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, and Shattuck said if the company does not hear an answer by the end of 2010, it could pull the plug on the $10 billion project.

⿿Time is a little bit of our enemy at this point,⿝ Shattuck told analysts on a conference call Wednesday. ⿿I think what we⿿re signaling is some level of frustration that this has gone on a little too long.⿝

The guarantee is critical for advancing the reactor, protecting investors in the project from cost overruns and delays. Shattuck added the company has already begun reducing its spending on the project.

Related: Constellation's 2Q profit up, misses estimates

Michael Wallace, chairman of Constellationâ¿¿s nuclear unit, said the companyâ¿¿s proposal has one step remaining, approval from the Department of Energyâ¿¿s credit review board.

Constellation (NYSE: CEG) and French power giant EDF have formed a joint venture, UniStar, for the reactor.

President Barack Obama announced in February approval of $8 billion in loan guarantees for a nuclear reactor in Georgia being built by Southern Co. (NYSE: SO). No nuclear reactors have been built in the U.S. in nearly 30 years but are viewed by some as a way to promote clean energy.

The Department of Energy is also reviewing proposals for loans for nuclear reactors in Texas and South Carolina.

Earlier this month, a House Appropriations subcommittee approved a $25 billion bill to be used on loan guarantees for new reactors. That still must be approved by the Senate.

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