Exelon Corporation Tuesday announced it was submitting an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating license for the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in York County another 20 years.
Joining Exelon CEO Christopher M. Crane at the announcement in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building were House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York), Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell and Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown.
“This application is great news for Peach Bottom workers, our neighbors and the state's economy,' said Crane. "Pennsylvania will soon be crafting ambitious but attainable carbon reduction goals to meet the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. Exelon's nuclear stations including Peach Bottom - can help the state meet those goals and continue powering the economy for decades to come."
Operating Peach Bottom for an additional 20 years will preserve thousands of good-paying jobs and provide long-term support for Pennsylvania's local and regional economy.
Peach Bottom employs more than 800 full-time workers who live in communities surrounding the station and who support local businesses. Annual refueling outages bring more than 2,500 additional workers to the plant, many of whom stay in the area and patronize local businesses.
In the coming weeks, Exelon will notify the NRC of its intent to file the formal application in 2018 with a decision expected by 2020 or 2021. Peach Bottom's two current operating licenses will expire in 2033 and 2034.
If approved, the extended operating license will allow the plant to operate until 2053 and 2054, as long as it continues to meet the NRC's stringent requirements for safety and operational performance.
U.S. nuclear energy facilities are initially licensed to operate for 40 years and an NRC rule allows licensees to apply for extensions of up to 20 years after the initial 40-year term.
A license alone does not allow a nuclear station to run. It is merely a period of time for which the plant is allowed to operate as long as it complies with NRC safety regulations.
If any U.S. nuclear facility fails to run safely at any time during the licensed period, the NRC can shut it down.
The NRC's license renewal process will take many years and will require a comprehensive review of the plant's robust design and multiple, redundant safety systems, as well as a public comment period.
Speaker Turzai said he was honored to be with the CEO of Exelon and the many employees from Peach Bottom who have journeyed to Harrisburg. He told of how Peach Bottom is only the second nuclear facility to apply to the federal government for a second license renewal.
Speaker Turzai also expressed the importance of keeping Pennsylvania a leader in energy production and independence and said he was grateful that Exelon has made substantial investments to ensure these goals are met through nuclear power plants at Limerick, Peach Bottom and Three Mile Island.
He closed by stressing that nuclear energy produced by these facilities is carbon free and results in high paying jobs.
Sen. Wagner thanked everyone for attending and celebrated the 870 employees from the Peach Bottom plant who he said operate in his legislative district. He told of how the employees there support many community and education projects in York County and how the company recently donated $75,000 to the York “Light up the Night” campaign.
He stressed this is the type of company the state needs and that York County is proud to be the home of Peach Bottom.
Acting Secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell addressed the press conference saying his background encompasses both environmental concerns as well as work with the Public Utility Commission.
He said Peach Bottom produces zero carbon emissions and that the department enjoys a great relationship with Exelon. Explaining the application for license renewal is a multi-year process, he expressed confidence that Exelon would do what is needed to secure the renewal.
Chairman of the Public Utility Commission Gladys Brown said while the PUC does not regulate nuclear power, it is active in ensuring that citizens have affordable sources of energy.
She spoke of Peach Bottom’s efficiency and reliability as a producer of electric and said she is very happy the plant is seeking a licensure renewal.
Kevin Sunday, from the PA Chamber of Business and Industry, spoke of how Pennsylvania has always been a leader in energy from having the first oil well to having the first gas station and is now second in the nation in both natural gas production and nuclear energy. Sunday closed by arguing the state’s energy resources will be what draws and retains companies in the state that allow us to be competitive.
Click Here to access documents handed out during the press conference.