U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves 20-year license renewal for PSEG's 1,216-MW Hope Creek Generating Station in New Jersey; license previously set to expire in 2026, will now expire in 2046
HANCOCKS BRIDGE, New Jersey
July 20, 2011
– The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved PSEG Nuclear's request today to extend the operating license of Hope Creek Generating Station an additional 20 years. Last month, the NRC announced the license renewal of PSEG Nuclear's Salem Generating Station Units 1 and 2.
"The license renewal of Hope Creek, as well as Salem last month, ensures clean nuclear energy is available for New Jersey and the region for years to come," said Tom Joyce, president and chief nuclear officer of PSEG Nuclear. "With the support of our employees, we will build upon our strong operating history of providing safe, reliable energy and continue to play a major role in supporting our local community who has supported us all these years."
Under the Atomic Energy Act, the NRC originally issued licenses for commercial nuclear reactors for 40 years. This timeframe was based on the amortization period generally used by electric utility companies for large capital investments.
PSEG Nuclear filed its request for license renewal in August 2009. During the past two years, a dedicated team coordinated site inspections and audits by the NRC, provided volumes of additional information to the regulator and participated in several meetings where the public was provided with opportunities to offer comment on the proposed license extension.
Hope Creek has a net generating capacity of approximately 1216 megawatts. The station's previous 40 year operating license was set to expire in 2026 and will now be licensed through 2046. Salem Units 1 and 2 are now licensed through 2036 and 2040 respectively.
Salem and Hope Creek are subject to an ongoing, rigorous program of oversight and inspection by the NRC, led by four full-time inspectors onsite, as well as supplemental inspectors from the NRC regional headquarters. The plants also have their own extensive programs in preventive and corrective maintenance, equipment testing and monitoring and equipment replacement.
Over the past five years, PSEG Nuclear has invested more than $231 million in equipment upgrades and enhancements to ensure the continued safe operation of Hope Creek.
In New Jersey, nuclear power has played a leading role in meeting the state's energy needs. In fact, more than 50 percent of the state's electricity comes from nuclear power. Located together on a 740-acre site in Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County, Hope Creek and the two Salem units comprise the second largest commercial nuclear power facility in the United States. Together the three nuclear units generate enough power for approximately three million homes each day.
In addition to license renewal, PSEG Nuclear continues to explore the possibility of building an additional nuclear plant in Salem County. In May 2010, the company filed an application for an early site permit (ESP). Though not a commitment to build, the ESP would recognize the proposed location to be suitable from a safety, environmental and emergency planning standpoint. An NRC decision on the ESP is not expected until late 2013.