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Nuclear Reactors Could Run as Long as 80 Years Under Trump Plan via Bloomberg

The U.S. Energy Department is throwing its support behind a request by utilities to extend the life of some nuclear power reactors — keeping them in operation for as long as 80 years.

An official with the department, who asked not to be named to discuss its decision-making process, said the agency was conducting research and working with utilities seeking permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow nuclear reactors built in the 1970s to keep operating to 2050 and beyond.

Already, the utilities Exelon Corp., and  Dominion Energy Inc. and NextEra Energy Inc. have said they plan to ask regulators to extend 60-year licenses by 20 years for eight reactors in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Requests for as many as as 20 more are expected to follow, according to the nuclear industry.

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Aging and Economics

Of course, keeping a nuclear reactor running beyond the average life of a human being — something that Barack Obama’s energy secretary also advocated — has its detractors.

“That’s kind of crazy,” said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program for the Washington-based watchdog group Public Citizen. “These facilities were not designed to operate that long. The longer you extend the operating life of these facilities the more things can go wrong.”

Already, a majority of the 99 commercial nuclear reactors operating in the U.S. have sought and received permission by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend their licenses from 40 to 60 years.

Others say that allowing a nuclear reactor to operate for 80 years doesn’t address the underlying economic headwinds.

Read more at Nuclear Reactors Could Run as Long as 80 Years Under Trump Plan 

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