Thursday, December 10, 2015

Indian Point 3’s Operating License is Alive and Well

Tom Kauffman
The following is a guest blog post by Tom Kauffman, NEI's Director of Media Relations.

As in September 2013 when Indian Point 2 entered its NRC-approved period of extended operation (PEO), Indian Point 3 will start its PEO beginning mid-December. And as they did in September 2103, nuclear opponents are claiming Indian Point 3’s operating license will expire − that claim is false.

Entergy Corp. filed timely and comprehensive license renewal applications for both Indian Point Units 2 and 3 in April 2007, more than five years ahead of IP2’s original expiration date of Sept. 28, 2013, and more than seven years ahead of IP3’s original expiration date of Dec. 12, 2015. The early applications fully satisfied the requirements of the Timely Renewal Doctrine, a well-established federal law that extends the current operating license until the license renewal process is complete.

The Timely Renewal Doctrine is law under the federal Administrative Procedures Act that is generally applicable to regulatory and administrative federal agencies including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and is available to all nuclear energy facilities that apply for a 20-year license renewal at least five years before the expiration of their current license. Indian Point 2 was the first nuclear energy facility to operate with a license extended by Timely Renewal Doctrine because of the unprecedented number of challenges to its license renewal application that must be addressed by the NRC.

Indian Point 3 will enter the period of timely renewal on December 12, 2015 and has met all of the federal requirements under the Timely Renewal Doctrine. The continued operation of Indian Point 3 under the Timely Renewal Doctrine in no way reduces the level of safety of the facility. Indian Point 3 currently meets all federal regulatory requirements, will continue to be thoroughly inspected, and must continue to adhere to all regulatory requirements.

Indian Point
Both operating units at Indian Point are very safe and reliable. Here’s proof. The U.S. nuclear fleet’s average capacity factor (a common measure of reliability) is about 91 percent, which is far higher than all other power supplies (wind 34%, solar 28%, natural gas 48%). The average capacity factors for Indian Point 2 and 3 over the past three years are 93.6% and 96.2% respectively. The fact is, the two plants are among the most reliable power plants in the nation. And it’s no surprise as Indian Point’s owner, Entergy Corp., has invested more than $1 billion to upgrade and enhance both facilities.

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