WASHINGTON—The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced that it has approved 20-year extensions of the operating licenses for the three-unit Oconee nuclear power plant located on Lake Keowee near Clemson, S.C. Opened in 1973, the plant is owned by Duke Energy Corp., and has a combined energy output of more than 2,500 megawatts of power. The following is a statement by Joe F. Colvin, president and chief executive officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute, in response to the NRC’s decision.
"Extending electricity production for an additional 20 years at the three Oconee nuclear units is great news for Duke Energy and for consumers who benefit from this affordable, emission-free energy. The process for renewing licenses at nuclear power plants ensures a continued, reliable, clean supply of electricity to satisfy the increasing demands of the digital economy.
"Duke Energy’s success is testimony to its employees’ excellence in safety and efficient operations at Oconee. There will be many more license renewals at other nuclear plants, further demonstrating the viability of nuclear energy and its vital role in America’s energy mix.
"The owners of about one-third of the 103 nuclear power reactors plant will apply for license renewals by the year 2003 and more will follow. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s in-depth review, which closely examines the safety and environmental record of these facilities, provides a clearly marked path for other electric companies pursuing license renewal. Clearly, the next chapter in our nation’s nuclear energy history already is being written, and it is full of promise.
"As many states make the transition to a competitive electricity market, reliable and efficient nuclear power plants are demonstrating their value every day. Electric companies clearly recognize this value to meeting electricity demand and to protecting our environment, and are extending the licenses of their nuclear power plants for this additional 20-year period."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.