PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – Less than a month after a nearby Pennsylvania nuclear power plant had issues with two of its reactors and within a year of license renewals for three NJ plants, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced that it will put on hold all requests for new reactor construction as well as license extensions for currently operating plants.
The ruling came on Tuesday, and the AP reports that it will affect more than 19 requests for new construction or license renewals across the country.
More than two dozen environmental groups reportedly sought the delay after a federal court in Washington ruled back in June that the NRC’s plans for the long-term storage of radioactive waste at individual reactors were insufficient.
According to the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s website, Pennsylvania currently has five operating power plants, including one in Limerick. Back in July of this year, two reactors at that plant were shut down—one for the replacement of a pipe and another after an electrical issue caused a malfunction.
The Exelon Limerick plant’s website also says that the Unit 1 reactor’s original license is current through Oct. 26, 2024, and that the Unit 2 license is current through June 22, 2029, and that the plant recently filed a request for license extensions for both reactors through 2044 and 2049 respectively.
Last summer, three southern New Jersey plants also received license extensions: Two plants in Lower Alloways Creek received 20-year extensions (until 2036 and 2040), and another in Hope Creek until 2046. The Hope Creek plant spokesman told Eyewitness News that the application was over 4,000 pages long and contained information about numerous safety improvements as well as plans for the future (see previous story).
At that time, there was also a pending request for an early site permit—the first step towards the possible construction of a fourth plant—at the Lower Alloways Creek location, which wasn’t expected to be decided for at least two years. That request will presumably be put on hold due to the new ruling.
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