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Beyond Nuclear challenges license extension for Peach Bottom nuclear plant

Activists challenge license extension for Peach Bottom nuclear plant, Lindsay C. VanAsdalan, York Dispatch, 5 Mar 19,    An anti-nuclear watchdog  aims to challenge Exelon Generation’s bid to extend the operating license at its Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station through 2054.

The group’s request for a hearing will not be approved unless the U.S. Atomic Safety and Licensing Board deems its arguments admissible at a preliminary hearing March 27.

Exelon’s application to extend its 60-year operating license an additional 20 years is among the first in the country, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan.

The anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear contends that Exelon did not meet NRC standards for renewal because it did not provide evidence of studying its aging equipment.

“Exelon could be gathering evidence from closed stations to harvest materials to look at things like how weld material has fared under 49 years of similar operation,” said Paul Gunter, director of the reactor oversight project at Beyond Nuclear.

If approved, Exelon’s proposal could extend the life of Peach Bottom’s Unit 3 through 2053 and Unit 4 through 2054.

The proposed extension at Peach Bottom comes as Exelon bids for support in the General Assembly for legislation that would benefit its nuclear facilities in Pennsylvania,  including Dauphin County facility Three Mile Island, which the firm has said it will close without state support.

Opponents of the legislation — which has yet to roll out in Harrisburg — have already labeled it a “bailout.”

It’s unknown how aging equipment at Peach Bottom would fare with such a long service life, Gunter said.

Most nuclear plants in the U.S. have received initial renewals extending their licenses from 40 to 60 years, said Sheehan, but a request for a second renewal is rare.

Only three plants — including Peach Bottom — are seeking their second license extension, this time from 60 years to 80. …… The group is looking for Exelon’s application to demonstrate it has “sufficient” knowledge — not just a little — on the issues that could affect aging equipment.

Exelon’s decommissioned Oyster Creek plant has the same boiling-water reactor as Peach Bottom, so there are opportunities to do extensive destructive analysis on larger equipment that wouldn’t be possible at Peach Bottom, Gunter said.

“A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous, particularly when talking about an inherently dangerous technology,” Gunter said…….ttps://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/2019/03/05/activists-challenge-license-extension-peach-bottom-nuclear-plant/3060252002/

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March 7, 2019 - Posted by | safety, USA

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