The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Jan., 27 that it has renewed the operating licenses of the Braidwood nuclear plant, Units 1 and 2, for an additional 20 years.
The Braidwood plant has two pressurized-water reactors, located in Braceville, Illinois, about 20 miles southwest of Joliet. The renewed licenses authorize the reactors to operate through Oct. 17, 2046, for Unit 1 and Dec. 18, 2047, for Unit 2. The operator, Exelon Generation Co., submitted its renewal application in May 2013. Exelon Generation is a unit of Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC).
The NRC staff’s review of the application proceeded on two tracks. A safety evaluation report (also covering Exelon’s Byron plant in Illinois) was issued in July 2015. A supplemental environmental impact statement on Braidwood was issued in November 2015. The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards also reviewed the staff’s work.
The existing licenses (NPF-72 and NPF-77) were due to expire on Oct. 17, 2026, and Dec. 18, 2027. Braidwood is a two-unit steam-electric generating facility. The nuclear reactor for each unit is a pressurized water reactor (PWR), producing a reactor core rated thermal power of 3,645 megawatts thermal.
Renewal of Braidwood’s operating licenses brings to 83 the number of commercial nuclear power reactors with renewed licenses (two of those have since permanently shut down). Applications for an additional 11 renewals are currently under review.