Division of License Renewal
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
The NRC has recently published two draft documents intended to guide the staff’s review of “subsequent license renewal” applications – renewals that would allow commercial nuclear power plants to operate beyond 60 years. We’ll use public comments we receive on these to develop final guidance as we prepare to receive the first “SLR” application sometime in 2019.
As we discussed in an earlier blog post, the NRC licenses plants to operate for 40 years, and the licenses can be renewed for up to 20 years at a time. To date, the agency has renewed the licenses of 81 reactors (two of which have since permanently shut down).
As industry looks to operate some plants beyond 60 years, we’re getting ready to assess the particular challenges to keeping the plants safe. That’s where these draft guidance documents come in.
The documents address material aging and degradation a plant’s structures, systems and components may experience when operating more than 60 years. They also detail aging management programs acceptable to the NRC for licensees to use during the subsequent license renewal period. They incorporate lessons learned and knowledge gained by the staff from recent plant operating experience and previous license renewal reviews.
Long-term operation research sponsored by the NRC, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Department of Energy’s national laboratories and international organizations also informs the guidance.
Public comments on the draft guidance documents will be accepted through February 29. The staff will hold public meetings at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md., on January 21, January 22 and February 23 to present the reports and receive comments. The final documents should be published by mid-2017.
The draft reports are available on the NRC’s License Renewal Guidance webpage.
NOTE: Comments posted here will NOT be considered public comments on the draft guidance documents. To have your comments considered by the staff as it develops the final guidance documents, please use the federal government’s rulemaking website www.regulations.gov, using Docket ID NRC-2015-0251. Comments may also be mailed to Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Comments are accepted through February 29, 2016.