Susquehanna gets 20 more years

25 November 2009

Susquehanna (Nicholas T)

Sunset at Susquehanna? Not until 2044. (Image: Nicholas T)


Two reactors at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania could operate into the 2040s after new operating licenses were granted.


The two license extensions, which allow the part-owner and operator PPL to continue using the reactors, were granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) yesterday. Unit 1 can operate until 17 July 2042 and unit 2 until 23 March 2044. Both are boiling water reactors producing 1050 MWe.


The application for the extensions was put to the NRC in 2006, since when the body has conducted a number of public information sessions and inspections of the plant to verify the information from PPL. It eventually concluded "there were no environmental impacts that would preclude renewal of the licenses for environmental reasons."


These are the 58th and 59th such 20-year extensions that the NRC has granted beyond the 40-year period license period envisaged as total plant lifespan when most US reactors were built. From that point of view, the total license extensions have combined to add the equivalent nuclear capacity of almost 30 reactors over the last ten years.