NRC taking comment related to Davis-Besse license renewal

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment a draft plant-specific Supplement 52 to its Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for power plants covering the renewal of the operating license for Unit 1 of the Davis-Besse power plant in northern Ohio.

The renewal would extend the license for an additional 20 years of operation for Unit 1. Possible alternatives to the proposed action (license renewal) include no action and reasonable alternative energy sources.

Comments are due by April 21. The NRC staff will hold public meetings prior to the close of the public comment period to present an overview of the draft plant-specific supplement to the GEIS and to accept public comment. Two meetings will be held at the Camp Perry Conference Center in Port Clinton, Ohio, on March 25.

“Supplement 52 to the GEIS includes the preliminary analysis that evaluates the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives to the proposed action,” said the NRC in a notice to be published in the March 7 Federal Register. “The NRC’s preliminary recommendation is that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for Davis-Besse are not great enough to deny the option of license renewal for energy planning decisionmakers.”

By letter dated Aug. 27, 2010, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC), a unit of FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE), submitted an application to the NRC for this extension. The existing license will expire on April 22, 2017, with the extension potentially taking it to April 22, 2037.

Davis-Besse is a single-unit pressurized water reactor (PWR) plant that uses closed-cycle cooling (using cooling towers to recirculate up to 95% of the cooling water). The plant is licensed for an electrical output of 2,817 megawatts-thermal (MWt) and 913 megawatt-electric (MWe). Davis-Besse’s spent fuel is stored in a pool inside the plant until it is cooled and transferred to dry storage containers located onsite called the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI). Spent fuel will be stored there until the federal government removes it to be reprocessed or stored at a government facility.

Davis-Besse began commercial operation in April 1977 and is equipped with a Babcock and Wilcox-designed PWR. Davis-Besse includes a nuclear steam supply system supplied by Babcock and Wilcox and a turbine generator designed and manufactured by General Electric. Davis-Besse was initially licensed to operate at a maximum steady-state core power level of 7 2,772 MWt. In 2008, amendments of the operating license and technical specifications allowed an increase in the rated thermal power of 1.63%. The reactor has a current electrical output of 2,817 MWt and 913 MWe gross. An additional 17 MWt is contributed to the cycle by the reactor coolant pumps, resulting in a net electrical output of about 925 MWe.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.