Monday, December 1, 2008

Nuclear reactor owners rush to extend licenses

Since 2000, according to NRC records, 50 of the nation's 104 reactors have been relicensed, 13 of those at least 15 years before their original licenses will end. Another 19 had licenses renewed at least 10 years before the originals will expire.

Among the 18 reactor license renewals now under review by the NRC, six are operating under original licenses that won't expire until 2022 at the earliest. The original license for one, the Vogtle Unit 2 reactor in Waynesboro, Ga., won't end until 2029.

The nuclear power industry says the early renewals are necessary for long-term planning, investment, maintenance and a stable electricity supply.

But citizen groups and industry watchdogs have criticized the process as perfunctory and inadequate to ensure safe operation and public health as the plants age.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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