CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy is seeking to renew the operating license of the reactor at the Robinson nuclear facility for another 20 years.
Duke announced on Sept. 19 that it will seek to renew the operating licenses of the 11 reactors including the 741 megawatt reactor near Hartsville that’s owned by its subsidiary Duke Energy Progress.
“Our nuclear power plants have safely and reliably provided electricity to our Carolinas customers for decades,” said Preston Gillespie, Duke Energy’s chief nuclear officer. “These plants generate clean and cost-effective power, provide thousands of well-paying jobs, and produce substantial economic benefits for the Carolinas. Renewing the licenses of these plants is important for our customers, communities and environment.”
The first Duke Energy nuclear power plants will approach the end of their current operating licenses in the early 2030s. Preventive maintenance programs across the nuclear fleet and technology upgrades and investments over the years at all stations have contributed to their operating performance. In 2018, Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet marked its 20th consecutive year with a fleet capacity factor – a measure of reliability – greater than 90%.
U.S. nuclear facilities are licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and were originally licensed to operate for 40 years based on economic considerations, not technology limitations. Regulations allow nuclear licensees to renew their licenses for up to 20 years at a time.
All Duke Energy-operated nuclear units have received one renewed license for an additional 20 years.
The process to renew licenses for a second 20 years requires a comprehensive analysis and evaluation to ensure the units can safely operate for the extended operation period. The review process begins with an acceptance review of the application once received, with a goal to complete the subsequent license renewal application review within 18 months of docketing.
The company expects to submit the license renewal application for Oconee Nuclear Station in 2021, followed by its other nuclear stations.