The 22 year old South Texas Project (STP) Units 1 and 2 are up for renewal and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced today that an application for a 20-year renewal of the operating licenses is available for public review.
The plant’s current operating licenses for Units 1 and 2 will expire on Aug. 20, 2027, and Dec. 15, 2028, respectively. A 20 year license extension would have the two units in production well past their initial life expectancy, and the onsite spent fuel rod storage, well – that’s a whole other can of worms.
South Texas Project Units 1 and 2 are both pressurized-water nuclear reactors, located 12 miles southwest of Bay City, Texas. When they were built, these plants were projected to have a 30 to 40 year life expectancy and STP says it has enough underwater storage capacity on site to safely store spent fuel for the licensed life of the plant. Since it is up for a 20 year renewal, let’s hope that that means they have enough spent fuel storage capacity for at least that long. They haven’t been very forthcoming about what their hoped for expansion would mean for their spent fuel storage capacity, continuing to hold forth the promise of a long-term storage solution (Yucca Mountain being the most frequently touted option). But with the development of Yucca Mountain in limbo, and the NRC extending the period for onsite storage past the production life of a plant, it seems likely that an off site long term storage solution is unlikely anytime soon.
The licensee, STP Nuclear Operating Co., submitted the renewal application Oct. 26. The application is available on the NRC website at this address: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal/applications/south-texas-project.html. The NRC staff is currently conducting an initial review of the application to determine whether it contains enough information for the required formal review. If the application has sufficient information, the NRC will formally “docket,” or file, the application and will announce an opportunity to request a public hearing.
For further information, contact Carmen Fells or Tam Tran at the Division of License Renewal, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop O11-F1, Washington, D.C. 20555; telephone (301) 415-6337 for Carmen Fells and telephone (301) 415-3617 for Tam Tran.
By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.