Chapter 18
License Renewal and Aging Management


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license renewal process establishes the technical and administrative requirements for renewal of operating power plant licenses. Reactor operating licenses were originally issued for 40 years and are allowed to be renewed for up to an additional 20 years. The review process for license renewal applications (LRAs) provides continued assurance that the level of safety provided by an applicant's current licensing basis is maintained for the period of extended operation. The license renewal review focuses on passive, long-lived structures and components (SCs) of the plant that are subject to the effects of aging. The applicant must demonstrate that programs are in place to manage those aging effects. The review also verifies that analyses that are based on the current operating term have been evaluated and shown to be valid for the period of extended operation. As of March 2013, the NRC has renewed the licenses for 73 reactors, applications to renew the licenses of 15 additional reactors are under review. If the applications currently under review are approved, approximately 80% of the licensed operating reactors will have extended their life span by up to 20 years. As license renewal is voluntary, the decision to seek license renewal and the timing of the application is made by the licensee. However, the NRC expects that, over time, essentially most of the remaining U.S. operating reactors will request license renewal.

Topics: Licensing

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