Licence renewal sought for La Salle

10 December 2014

Exelon has applied to the US regulator for a 20-year licence extension for its two-unit La Salle nuclear power plant in Illinois.

La Salle - 460 (Exelon)
The La Salle plant comprises two boiling water reactors (Image: Exelon)

Exelon said it had submitted its licence renewal application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 9 December. The operating licence of La Salle unit 1 is set to expire in 2022, while that of unit 2 expires the following year. Licence renewal would allow the units to operate for a further 20 years.

The company said that its application "is the result of two years of work by an Exelon team to conduct a detailed review of historical equipment and component peformance, and a rigorous review of existing maintenance and engineering programs to ensure the station is capable of maintaining the plant's state-of-the-art systems over the extended licence period." Its application totals some 2100 pages and reviews more than 218,000 plant components.

The NRC will take about two years to review the application for both safety and environmental impacts. It will also inspect the plant to verify information in the application. Exelon anticipates a final decision on the application in 2016.

Exelon Nuclear chief operating officer Bryan Hanson said, "For decades, La Salle has been a tremendous energy asset for Illinois, providing safe and abundant clean energy." According to Exelon, nuclear power provides some 48% of the state's electricity and about 90% of its carbon-free electricity.

The NRC has so far renewed the licences of over two-thirds of the USA's 100 operating nuclear power reactor and is currently reviewing a further 16. As of the end of last year, 20 reactors had entered the period of extended operation between 40 and 60 years.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News