DTE Energy seeks license renewal for Fermi 2 nuclear plant

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) said May 2 that it has filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the license for its Fermi 2 power plant.

For Fermi 2, the original 40-year license ends in 2025. A successful license renewal process will provide the residents and businesses of southeast Michigan a source of clean and safe energy for an additional 20 years — until 2045, DTE Energy said.

“For more than 26 years, we’ve made electricity in Monroe County, and we want to be a part of the community for decades to come,” said Joe Plona, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Fermi 2. “This application is a renewal of our commitment to continue to serve our customers with our energy and be a force for growth in the community.”

Fermi 2 earned its original operating license in 1985. During the past quarter century, the power plant has generated 190 million megawatt-hours and represents about 15% of DTE Energy’s total generation. This is a General Electric Type 4 boiling water reactor with a licensed capacity of 3,430 MWt.

The application includes safety and environmental evaluations of the plant, which involved more than two years of engineering reviews to ensure Fermi 2 can safely operate through 2045. The NRC will review the safety, environmental and technical evaluations of the plant. The NRC process to decide on the license renewal takes about two years. More than 70 U.S. nuclear power plants earned license renewal through the same NRC process, the company noted.

Fermi 2, located in Newport, Mich., is a major economic benefit for the region. The plant has about 850 full time employees. During refueling outages at the plant every 18 months, Fermi 2 hires more than 1,000 contractors.

Said the DTE website about a possible new unit at the plant: “Recognizing the need to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants, the company has begun the process for a potential new unit at its Fermi site. Our analysis so far shows that nuclear power will, over the long term, be the most cost-effective base load option for our customers while at the same time helping to achieve the environmental goals of our state and nation. In September 2008, DTE Electric filed a Combined License Application (COLA) with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). While the company has not committed to building a new plant, the license application preserves the option to do so in the future. By submitting the COL application in 2008, we maintain eligibility for hundreds of millions of dollars in potential federal production tax credits.”

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.