Peach Bottom (Credit: Exelon)The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 27 January issued the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Exelon Generation Company to operate units 2&3 at its Peach Bottom nuclear plant in Pennsylvania for an additional 20 years to a maximum of 80 years.

Both units are 1308MW boiling water reactors.

NRC’s final supplemental environmental impact statement said:

"The NRC has concluded the potential environmental impacts are not so great that preserving the option of licence renewal for energy-planning decision-makers would be unreasonable."

Exelon applied for the Peach Bottom licence renewal in July 2018.

In May 2003, NRC approved initial licence renewals of 20 years for Peach Bottom 2 to operate until 8 August 2033 and Peach Bottom 3 until 2 July 2034. The dates could now be extended by 20 years.

However, the staff's environmental impact statement is only part of the agency’s review. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has yet to reach a final decision regarding the Peach Bottom subsequent licence renewal.

Peach Bottom 2 began commercial operation in 1974 and unit 3 in 1974. Unit 1, a 40MW high temperature, gas-cooled reactor, was permanently shut down in November 1974.

In December, Turkey Point 3&4 in Florida became the first units in the USA to receive an NRC licence to operate for up to 80 years.

Photo: Exelon's Peach Bottom nuclear power plant (Credit: Exelon)