Environment News Service

AmeriScan: December 23, 1999

NUCLEAR REGULATORS OK RELICENSING OF SOUTH CAROLINA PLANT

WALHALLA, South Carolina, December 23, 1999 (ENS) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concluded that the benefits outweigh the adverse environmental impacts of renewing operating licenses for the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina. NRC has had renewal of the Oconee licenses under consideration since Duke Energy, which operates the plants, filed an application in July 1998. Under NRC regulations, the original operating license for a nuclear power plant was issued for up to 40 years. The license may be renewed for up to an additional 20 years if NRC requirements are met. The current operating licenses for Oconee will expire on February 6 and October 6, 2013, and July 19, 2014, for Units 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The environmental impact is a key element in the NRC staff's review of the application, which is also undergoing scrutiny in a number of technical areas.

The final environmental statement just issued is an Oconee specific supplement to an existing document, "Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants," which assesses the environmental effects associated with license renewal at any nuclear power plant site. In preparing the supplement, the NRC staff considered comments received on the draft supplement, issued in May. The statement allows energy planning decision makers to continue to consider renewing the operating licenses for Oconee Nuclear Station Units 1, 2, and 3. The final supplement is available at: http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/NUREGS/SR1437/S2/index.html

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