The Tennessee Valley Authority has completed a comprehensive application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend operating licenses for both units at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. Those licenses expire in 2020 and 2021.
“By applying for a 20-year extension of our current operating license now, we are affirming to the NRC that our plant is safe and in solid material condition,” said Chief Nuclear Officer Preston Swafford. “Extending the operating life of this nuclear plant supports TVA’s vision to provide low-cost, cleaner electricity and a balanced energy portfolio.”
The TVA board of directors approved the recommendation to submit the necessary paperwork to file a license renewal application. The license renewal process is expected to cost approximately $23 million, including NRC charges to TVA to review the applications.
Renewing the existing licenses will allow the plant to operate until 2040 and 2041, respectively. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission initially licenses nuclear plants for 40 years of operation, with an opportunity to request a license extension for an additional 20-year period.
The NRC will conduct local public meetings over the next two years as part of the license application process. TVA encourages public participation in these upcoming public meetings. As part of its application, TVA developed its own environmental report to support the NRC review.
Each of Sequoyah’s two reactors is capable of producing more than 1,160 megawatts. Together, they can generate enough electricity to supply about 1.3 million homes. Sequoyah employs more than 800 people in full-time positions.
The NRC regulates more than 100 nuclear power reactors in the United States. The license renewal process takes about 30 months and includes specific requirements to assure safe plant operation. In 2006 the NRC authorized renewal of 20-year operating licenses for Browns Ferry units 1, 2 and 3, allowing them to operate to 2033, 2034 and 2036, respectively.