Exelon Corp. is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow it to operate its LaSalle County nuclear plant until the 2040s.
The company’s filing Tuesday with the commission sets off a two-year process that will determine if the plant can safely continue operating another two decades beyond its generating units’ licenses.
The plant’s two nuclear reactors — which generate enough electricity to power 2.3 million homes — are operating under licenses set to expire in 2022 and 2023.
The plant’s reactors began commercial operation in January 1984 and October 1984, respectively.
The NRC issues operating licenses for up to 40 years and allows the licenses to be renewed for an additional 20 years.
The average commercial reactor in the U.S. is about 33 years old, according to the Energy Information Administration. The oldest reactors are Oyster Creek in New Jersey and Nine Mile Point 1 in New York, which began commercial operation in December 1969.
LaSalle’s twin nuclear reactors employ about 875 people 75 miles southwest of Chicago near Marseilles. About 48 percent of the electricity in Illinois comes from nuclear power.