TVA seeks Sequoyah licence extension

08 February 2013

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has applied to the US regulator to extend the operating life of its twin-unit Sequoyah nuclear power plant. If granted, the reactors could operate until 2040 and 2041, respectively.

Seqouyah NPP (TVA) 460
The two-unit Sequoyah plant (Image: TVA)

The original 40-year licences for Sequoyah units 1 and 2 are due to expire in 2020 and 2021.

TVA submitted its operating licence extension applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 15 January. The licence renewal process takes about 30 months andis expected to cost some $23 million, according to the utility.

TVA chief nuclear operator Preston Swafford commented, "By applying for a 20-year extension of our current operating licence now, we are affirming to the NRC that our plant is safe and in solid material condition." He added, "Extending the operating life of this nuclear plant supports TVA's vision to provide low-cost, cleaner electricity and a balanced energy portfolio."

Both Sequoyah units are 1152 MWe Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 began commercial operation in July 1981, while unit 2 began operating in June 1982.

So far, the NRC has renewed the operating licences of 73 of the USA's 103 nuclear power reactors. Applications for the extension of the operating lives of a further 15 reactors have been submitted.

A September 2012 court ruling requires the NRC to developed an environmental impact statement on the storing of used nuclear fuel at power plant sites for extended periods. The NRC said it might take 24 months to develop the statement. However, until this is done, the NRC cannot issue final licences to new nuclear power plants or extend existing operating licences.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News