Exelon seeks to extend license for Peach Bottom nuclear plant

Written by Marie Cusick | Jun 7, 2016 3:20 PM

Exelon announced Tuesday it will seek another license renewal for its Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in York County. If approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the facility could be among the first in the nation to operate for 80 years.

The announcement is welcome news for the nuclear power industry, which has been having a tough time competing economically. Earlier this month Exelon said it would close two plants in Illinois, and its Three Mile Island plant in Dauphin County recently failed to clear an annual capacity auction to sell wholesale power, which means the threat of premature closure looms.

"This application is great news for Peach Bottom workers, our neighbors and the state's economy," Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane said in a statement. "Pennsylvania will soon be crafting ambitious but attainable carbon reduction goals. Exelon's nuclear stations-- including Peach Bottom-- can help meet those goals."

The Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Delta, York County and another plant in Virginia are leading the charge among the nation's nuclear fleet in seeking license renewals.

 Eric Epstein of the nuclear watchdog group, Three Mile Island Alert, is criticizing the move, noting the U.S. still lacks a plan to permanently dispose of its nuclear waste.

"The reality is nuclear power does not have a bright future," says Epstein. "Peach Bottom generates tons of high-level radioactive waste every year. That's a toxic byproduct with no forwarding address."

Peach Bottom provides power for about two million homes. Exelon says it will file a formal application with the NRC in 2018. If approved the plant's two licenses could be extended until the years 2053 and 2054.

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