Exelon Generation’s Peach Bottom-2 and -3, located in Delta, Pa., have joined Florida Power & Light Company’s Turkey Point-3 and -4 as the only U.S. nuclear reactors licensed to operate for a total of 80 years.
On March 5, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued subsequent license renewals to Exelon for the Peach Bottom boiling water reactors, with expiration dates of August 8, 2053, for Unit 2, and July 2, 2054, for Unit 3. The FPL units received their first--in--the-nation SLRs last December (NN, Jan. 2020, p. 15).
“We are pleased with the NRC’s decision to grant a subsequent license renewal for Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3,” said Bryan Hanson, Exelon Nuclear’s chief nuclear officer, in a statement. “This plant is well suited to continue running safely, reliably, and efficiently, given the extensive upgrades accomplished over the past seven years.”
According to the utility, significant investments have been made recently in new equipment and technologies at Peach Bottom, leading to an increase in generation capacity of approximately 12 percent. The plant’s high- and low-pressure turbines, for instance, as well as the steam dryers, main generators, and main power transformers, have been replaced or upgraded.
“The ability to operate Peach Bottom for another 20 years is good news for the environment, our employees, and the community,” Hanson said. “However, nuclear plants must remain financially viable to continue to operate. It’s critical that we continue to pursue policy reforms that value the environmental, economic, and reliability benefits that zero--carbon nuclear energy provides.”
Exelon estimates that if Peach Bottom continues to generate electricity through 2054, more than 536 million tons of carbon will be prevented from entering the atmosphere—the equivalent of removing 3.3 million cars from the roads every year for 34 years.
The SLR application for Peach Bottom was submitted in July 2018 (NN, Sept. 2018, p. 20), and in June of the following year, an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board terminated the adjudicatory proceeding regarding the application brought by the antinuclear group Beyond Nuclear.