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Utility applies for operating licence extension at Sequoyah nuclear plant in Tennessee

12 February 2013

The Tennessee Valley Authority has applied to extend the operating licences for both units at its Sequoyah Nuclear Plant for a further 20 years. The current licences expire in 2020 and 2021. The application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to take around 30 months and will cost around $23 million.

If approved, the license extensions will allow Sequoyah 1&2 to operate until 2040 and 2041
If approved, the license extensions will allow Sequoyah 1&2 to operate until 2040 and 2041

Renewing the existing licenses will allow Sequoyah 1&2 to operate until 2040 and 2041, respectively. Both units are 1152 MW Westinghouse pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Sequoyah 2 has recently completed a $376 million steam generator replacement project.

The original 40-year licences for Sequoyah units 1 and 2 are due to expire in 2020 and 2021.

TVA chief nuclear operator Preston Swafford commented, "By applying for a 20-year extension of our current operating licence now, we are affirming to the NRC that our plant is safe and in solid material condition." 

So far, the NRC has renewed the operating licences of 73 of the USA's 103 nuclear power reactors. Applications for the extension of the operating lives of a further 15 reactors have been submitted.

A September 2012 court ruling requires the NRC to developed an environmental impact statement on the storing of used nuclear fuel at power plant sites for extended periods. The NRC said it might take 24 months to develop the statement. However, until this is done, the NRC cannot issue final licences to new nuclear power plants or extend existing operating licences.

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