Hancocks Bridge, N.J., July 21, 2011 — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved PSEG Nuclear’s request to extend the operating license of Hope Creek Generating Station an additional 20 years. Last month, the NRC announced the license renewal of PSEG Nuclear’s Salem Generating Station Units 1 and 2.
Under the Atomic Energy Act, the NRC originally issued licenses for commercial nuclear reactors for 40 years. This timeframe was based on the amortization period generally used by electric utility companies for large capital investments.
PSEG Nuclear filed its request for license renewal in August 2009. During the past two years, a dedicated team coordinated site inspections and audits by the NRC, provided volumes of additional information to the regulator and participated in several meetings where the public was provided with opportunities to offer comment on the proposed license extension.
Hope Creek has a net generating capacity of about 1,216 MW. The station’s previous 40-year operating license was set to expire in 2026 and will now be licensed through 2046. Salem Units 1 and 2 are now licensed through 2036 and 2040 respectively.
Salem and Hope Creek are subject to an ongoing, rigorous program of oversight and inspection by the NRC, led by four full-time inspectors onsite, as well as supplemental inspectors from the NRC regional headquarters. The plants also have their own extensive programs in preventive and corrective maintenance, equipment testing and monitoring and equipment replacement.
Over the past five years, PSEG Nuclear has invested more than $231 million in equipment upgrades and enhancements to ensure the continued safe operation of Hope Creek.
In addition to license renewal, PSEG Nuclear continues to explore the possibility of building an additional nuclear plant in Salem County. In May 2010, the company filed an application for an early site permit. Though not a commitment to build, the ESP would recognize the proposed location to be suitable from a safety, environmental and emergency planning standpoint. An NRC decision on the ESP is not expected until late 2013.