Duke Says It Will Seek 20-Year Renewals For Nuclear Plants
Duke Energy says it wants to renew the licenses of its North and South Carolina nuclear plants for another 20 years. Licenses for the 11 reactors at six sites run out in the 2030s, and the utility says it will ask the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for extensions.
Duke says it will start with its largest plant, Oconee, in Seneca, South Carolina, in 2021. The six plants are:
- Brunswick, Southport, N.C.
- Catawba, York, S.C.
- Harris, New Hill, N.C.
- McGuire, Huntersville, N.C.
- Oconee, Seneca, S.C.
- Robinson, Hartsville, S.C.
Duke says the plants generate half the electricity used in the Carolinas, without carbon emissions. This week, the company announced plans to speed up retirement of coal-fired power plants and said nuclear would be a critical part of its plans in the next 30 years.
“Our nuclear power plants have safely and reliably provided electricity to our Carolinas customers for decades,” Preston Gillespie, Duke Energy’s chief nuclear officer, said in a press release. “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.
Duke's nuclear plants originally got 40-year licenses when they were built. The company says those were "based on economic considerations, not technology limitations." The NRC allows for renewals of up 20 years