Constellation seeks subsequent license renewal for Dresden

April 18, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Dresden nuclear power plant. (Photo: Constellation Energy)

Constellation Energy has filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a subsequent license renewal for its Dresden nuclear power plant in Illinois. The extension would allow Dresden to run through 2051.

The filing begins a comprehensive, multiyear review by the NRC. Unit 2 is currently licensed to operate through 2029 and Unit 3 through 2031. The facility’s license was first renewed by the NRC in 2004.

The plant produces enough nuclear energy to power nearly 1.4 million homes.

Quotable: “Extending the operating licenses of the nation’s nuclear fleet for an additional 20 years will add more clean megawatts to the grid than all the renewables ever built in this country, and those nuclear plants will continue operating long after the wind and solar facilities under construction today are retired,” said Joe Dominguez, president and chief executive of Constellation.

He continued, “Nuclear produces half of America’s clean energy, but many still take it for granted and wrongly assume it will always be there. In reality, Constellation reinvests hundreds of millions of dollars each year in its industry-leading nuclear fleet to keep these massive economic engines running, providing thousands of family-sustaining jobs, preserving energy security, and delivering the unmatched reliability we need to grow our economy while addressing the climate crisis.”

Background: Dresden was at risk of early retirement during a period of economic uncertainty, until Illinois enacted the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021. The federal nuclear production tax credit enacted in 2022 extended policy support through 2032. Constellation said that even if the license renewal is granted to allow operations at Dresden through 2051, future policy and market conditions will ultimately determine how long the plant operates.

Dresden employs nearly 700 people; the facility’s workforce more than doubles during its annual refueling and maintenance outage, helping increase worker payrolls and improve the bottom lines of local businesses.

Over the next 10 years, more than half of Constellation’s nuclear reactors are expected to require NRC license renewals. In February, Constellation filed for the initial license renewal for Clinton nuclear power plant in central Illinois.

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