Exelon’s Limerick plant gets 20-year license renewal from NRC

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has renewed the operating license of the Exelon (NYSE:EXC) Limerick Units 1 and 2 for an additional 20 years, NRC said recently.

The license renewal allows Limerick to operate 20 years beyond its original 40-year operating licenses. The new licenses will expire Oct. 26, 2044, for Unit 1 and June 22, 2049, for Unit 2, NRC said in an Oct. 20 news release.

The Limerick plant has two boiling water reactors (BWRs) and is located in Limerick Township, Pa., about 21 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Limerick Generating Station generates 2,345 MW of clean and reliable electricity, enough for approximately two million homes, Exelon said in its own news release.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Limerick employees, our customers and the community,” said Tom Dougherty, Limerick site vice president. “We are committed to running the plant at world-class levels through 2049, providing clean, safe, reliable energy while powering the local economy.”

According to a report from Continental Economics, Limerick reduces wholesale energy costs in Pennsylvania by $880m per year, on average, which results in consumer savings, Exelon said.

Exelon Generation submitted the license renewal application on June 22, 2011. The NRC staff’s review of the application proceeded on two tracks. A safety evaluation report was issued Jan. 10, 2013, and supplemented on Aug. 12, 2014. A supplemental environmental impact statement was published Aug. 27, 2014.

Exelon personnel collectively spent 60,000 hours preparing the 2,000-page license renewal application that was submitted to the NRC on June 22, 2011. This process involved review of thousands of documents, a detailed review of historical equipment and component performance, and a rigorous review of the existing maintenance and engineering programs to ensure that the station is capable of maintaining plant systems over the extended license period.

The plant’s original 40-year operating license was set to expire in 2024 for Unit 1 and 2029 for Unit 2. The 40-year term for initial nuclear plant operating licenses was based on amortization schedules to finance large utility projects, not on safety, technical or environmental considerations.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, the original legislation authorizing civilian use of nuclear energy, permits nuclear power plants to renew their operating licenses.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.