The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted the renewal of the operating licence of Arkansas Nuclear One unit 1 (see NEI May 2001, p11). The renewed operating licence gives Entergy the option to operate the unit 20 years beyond its original 40-year operating period. The original licence of unit 1, which began commercial operation in 1974, would have expired in 2014.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of the ANO-1 application, the industry’s sixth unit to receive a licence extension, was conducted in just under 17 months. The standard 30-month schedule for such requests was significantly reduced due to a limited number of requests for information on environmental issues, prompt resolution of the six open items identified during the document review phase and the absence of public opposition.

The ANO 1 experience will also provide valuable insight for future licence renewal filings for Entergy’s other nuclear units. No further applications have been submitted, but Entergy has notified the NRC that it plans to submit additional applications between 2003 and 2010.

Entergy operates five nuclear reactors from its Southwest regional office in Jackson, Mississippi, and three reactors from its Northeast regional office in White Plains, New York. As part of its nuclear growth strategy, Entergy has also agreed to purchase Indian Point 1 and 2 from Con Edison in New York and expects to close that transaction in mid-September.