NRC grants Palo Verde nuclear plant 20-year operating license extension

Source: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating licenses for Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2, and 3, in Maricopa County, Ariz. for an additional 20 years. The renewed licenses for the nuclear power plants will now expire on June 1, 2045, for Unit 1; April 24, 2046, for Unit 2; and Nov. 25, 2047, for Unit 3.

The decision to renew the licenses comes after thorough safety and environmental reviews of the license renewal application submitted in Dec. 2008 by the plant’s operator, Arizona Public Service Company (APS).

The NRC held public meetings near the plant to discuss Palo Verde’s environmental review on June 25, 2009, and Sept. 15, 2010. In January 2011, the NRC staff concluded there were no environmental impacts that would preclude renewal of the license for environmental reasons.

After careful review of the plant’s safety systems and specifications, the staff concluded that the applicant had effectively demonstrated the capability to manage the effects of plant aging and that there were no safety concerns that would preclude license renewal. In addition, NRC conducted inspections of the plant to verify information submitted by the applicant. On March 1, 2011, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards – an independent body of technical experts that advises the Commission – issued its letter recommending that license renewal for Palo Verde should be approved.

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