Nuclear Regulatory Commission resumes plant licensing
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the operating licenses for Limerick Generating Station Units 1 and 2, located northwest of Philadelphia, extending their license expiration dates by 20 years, to 2044 and 2049, respectively.
- The decision ends a two-year hiatus from issuing licenses. The NRC has granted license renewals providing a 20-year extension to a total of 74 of the 100 operating reactors in the United States.
- Nuclear power accounted for 20% of total power sector electricity generation in 2013.
Just as nuclear operators are considering extending the life of their facilities to 80 years, federal regulators have begun issuing licenses again.
Following the termination of the repository program at Yucca Mountain, the NRC issued an order in August 2012 that suspended actions related to issuing license renewals as well as new operating licenses, although the nuclear power industry continued to submit applications for license renewals. But in September, the NRC issued revised rules allowing it to continue issuing license renewals as well as new operating licenses.
To date, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says no applications for a second, or subsequent, license renewal, which could extend nuclear plant operating lives to 80 years, have been filed. But according to media reports, owners of nuclear facilities in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia are considering requesting licensing extensions that would extend the life of generating plants that long.
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