Almost 40% of the 99 commercial nuclear power reactors in the United States are now at least 40 years old, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) notes briefly in the just-released Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2015.
On page 17 of the report, under NRC’s management discussion and analysis, the agency gives a rundown of the U.S. reactor fleet’s age of operation at the end of FY 2015, which was Sept. 30.
At the end of the fiscal year, there was only one reactor that had been operating for 19 years or less; there were 21 reactors that were between 20 and 29 years old; there were 38 reactors between 30 and 39 years old and there were 39 reactors that had been running for 40 years or more.
If you do the math, that comes out to 39.39% of the reactor fleet that has hit age 40. The NRC initially licenses nuclear power plants for 40 years. In recent years, most domestic nuclear plants have applied for, and received, a 20-year license extension from NRC.
Dominion (NYSE:D) said Nov. 6 that it has become the first U.S. nuclear operator to formally notify NRC that it intends to apply for a second 20-year license renewal for a nuclear power plant. Dominion plans to seek the second license extension for the dual-unit Surry nuclear plant in Virginia.
The “subsequent license renewals,” as NRC refers to them, would open the door for running a nuclear plant for a total of 80 years.
Exelon (NYSE:EXC) is interested in potentially doing the same thing for the Peach Bottom nuclear station in Pennsylvania.