The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating licenses for Vogtle units 1 and 2, for an additional 20 years. The new licences will expire on 16 January 2047, and 9 February 2049, respectively.

The decision to renew the licences comes after thorough safety and environmental reviews of the application submitted in June 2007, by the plant’s operator, Southern Nuclear Operating Company.

The Vogtle plants are two Westinghouse pressurised-water reactors located about 25 miles south of Augusta, Georgia. The NRC held two public meetings to discuss the Vogtle environmental review. In December 2008, NRC staff concluded there were no environmental impacts that would preclude renewal of the license for environmental reasons.

In April, after careful review of the plants’ safety systems and specifications, the staff concluded that there were no safety concerns that would preclude licence renewal and that the applicant had effectively demonstrated the capability to manage the effects of plant aging. In addition, NRC conducted inspections of the plant to verify information submitted by the applicant. On April 10, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards – an independent body of technical experts that advise the Commission – issued its recommendation that license renewal for Vogtle should be approved.

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