Nuclear power generation at the Salem plant in New Jersey has been licensed to continue until April 2040 by US safety authorities.
Two pressurized water reactors have operated at Salem since 1977 and 1981 repectively, based on the original 40-year licenses granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). They were constructed with generating capacities of 1106 MWe but these have been boosted to 1175 MWe by the plant operator, PSEG, as part of a $525 million investment program over the years.
In 2009, PSEG applied to have Salem's licenses extended by 20 years, and a process to verify the safety of that has now ended with NRC approval. The plant is 57% owned by PSEG, with the remainder held by Exelon.
Subject to ongoing NRC satisfaction as well as PSEG's commercial principles, Salem 1 could now operate until August 2036, with unit 2 to operating until April 2040.
The Salem nuclear power plant is one of largest in the USA, and could grow further. In 2013 the NRC is expected to rule on an application for an Early Site Permit, which addresses site-related issues ahead of any commitment to build a new nuclear power reactor.
The NRC's announcement of the licence extension included a comment on revision of safety regulations and practices in the light of the Fukushima accident. A task force is conducting a review of requirements and procedure and is scheduled to report on 12 July. Newly relicensed plants like Salem would "be subject to any rule or policy changes the NRC may make as a result."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News