Clinton seeks initial license renewal

February 20, 2024, 6:55AMNuclear News
Clinton nuclear power plant, located near Clinton, Ill. (Photo: Constellation)

Constellation Energy is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an initial license renewal for its Clinton nuclear plant in Illinois, which would allow the facility to operate through 2047.

This move is not unexpected from Constellation, the largest producer of nuclear power in the United States. The vast majority of nuclear plants in the United States have already been approved for their first 20-year renewal term. Clinton, which came on line in 1987, is one of the nation’s “newer” plants.

In total, 84 reactors have completed the process of initial license renewal with the NRC, and six (including Clinton) have applications under review. However, no initial license renewals have been processed during the last three-plus years.


Learn more about the trends in nuclear plant license renewals and detailed information about nuclear plants worldwide in the March 2024 issue of Nuclear News. AllNNissues are available here.


Plant history: Clinton benefitted from 2016 state legislation that provided financial support when economic factors were stacked against the plant. Subsequently, a federal nuclear production tax credit approved in 2022 extended support for the plant through at least 2032.

Clinton produces enough carbon-free electricity to power the equivalent of 800,000 homes. Illinois would need to site more than 1,000 new wind turbines to generate the same amount of electricity that Clinton will be able to provide with an extended license. The plant is currently licensed to operate through April 2027.

Quotable: “This facility has operated 24/7 during the most extreme summer and winter weather to hit the Midwest in a generation, and we are doing everything possible to ensure it has the opportunity to continue to operate for another 20 years,” said Joe Dominguez, president and chief executive officer of Constellation. “Sustained investment in our nation’s nuclear power plants, which provide about half of all the clean energy on the grid and are the most reliable source of energy, is essential. We look forward to continuing to contribute to Illinois’s clean energy future and serving as an economic engine for the local community for as long as market or policy support remains in place."

What’s next? The Clinton license renewal application is the latest in a series of investments Constellation is making to accelerate company-wide clean-energy growth initiatives. In 2023, Constellation announced the following:

Later this year the company is scheduled to file a second license renewal for its two-unit Dresden plant in Morris, Ill.

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