Nuclear, Reactors

Palo Verde nuclear plant license extended

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has renewed the operating licenses for Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Units 1, 2, and 3 in Arizona for an additional 20 years. The renewed licenses for the nuclear power plants will now expire on June 1, 2045, for Unit 1; April 24, 2046, for Unit 2; and Nov. 25, 2047 for Unit 3. The three pressurized water reactors generate roughly 4,000 MW.

The decision to renew the licenses comes after safety and environmental reviews of the license renewal application submitted in December 2008 by the plant’s operator, Arizona Public Service Co. (APS). In January 2011, the NRC staff concluded there were no environmental impacts that would preclude renewal of the license for environmental reasons.

NRC staff staff concluded APS had effectively demonstrated the capability to manage the effects of plant aging and that there were no safety concerns that would preclude license renewal. In addition, NRC conducted inspections of the plant to verify information submitted by the applicant. On March 1, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, an independent body of technical experts that advises the Commission, issued its letter recommending that license renewal for Palo Verde should be approved.

The Palo Verde reactors represent the 64th, 65th, and 66th reactor licenses renewed by the NRC.

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