Oconee N-Plant Wins Second US Licence Renewal

by NUCNET, Updated 26th May 2000

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed for 20 years the operating licences for all three units of the Oconee nuclear power plant (right) located at Lake Keowee, South Carolina.

The event is the second such licence renewal for a commercial nuclear power plant following the historic Calvert Cliffs renewal.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the application submitted by Duke Power (a part of the Duke Energy Corporation) after examining the station's performance and other plant characteristics to ensure the units could continue operating safely for another 20 years.

Mike Tuckman, Duke Power's nuclear generation executive vice president said: "Duke Power took a leadership role in the nuclear industry when it began operating Oconee 27 years ago... As society's dependence on electrical energy continues to grow, we are glad that Oconee nuclear station will be part of the supply. Twenty years of additional life will serve our region very well.

The original operating licences, which would have expired in 2013 (units 1 and 2) and 2014 (unit 3), have been extended until 2033 and 2034 respectively. A copy of the complete licence renewal application is available on the Internet at:

http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/REACTOR/LR/OCONEE/index.html

Each unit consists of a Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) pressurised water reactor nuclear steam supply system designed to generate some 846 MW of electricity. According to Duke Energy, Oconee nuclear power plant has so far generated in excess of 425 TWh of electricity more than any other US nuclear station.

Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) president and chief executive Joe Colvin said: "Duke Energy's success is testimony to its employees' excellence in safety and efficient operations at Oconee. There will be more licence renewals at other nuclear plants, further demonstrating the viability of nuclear energy and its vital role in America's energy mix.... The owners of about one-third of the 103 nuclear power plants will apply for licence renewals by the year 2003 and more will follow... As many states make the transition to a competitive electricity market, reliable and efficient nuclear power plants are demonstrating their value every day."

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