Most U.S. nuclear plants would retire by 2050 without another extension

Despite the fact that most U.S. nuclear plants have already received license extensions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) most could still be retiring by 2050 within a second life extension, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Domestic nuclear plants are initially licensed to run for 40 years. Beyond that the reactors need to have license extensions issued by the NRC.

NRC has already issued license renewals for 74 of the 100 nuclear units now operating in the United States.

“With the bulk of the existing nuclear fleet licensed before 1990, nearly all existing reactors will be more than 60 years old by 2050,” EIA in a Dec. 8 posting.

These reactors represent more than 69,000 MW of capacity, EIA said.

Thus far no U.S. nuclear units have applied to operate for more than 60 years, Dominion (NYSE:D) and Exelon (NYSE:EXC) are said to be considered subsequent license renewals to keep some plants running until age 80.

Dominion is looking for an additional license extension for its Surry units in Virginia and Exelon is considering such a move for its Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3 in Pennsylvania, EIA said.

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.