The U.S. Energy Information Agency reported that. Overall, nuclear energy provides 20% of our nation’s power. 30 states have nuclear plants, though this carbon-free energy can be sent across state borders, so more than 30 states benefit from this power.
Three states made more than 50% of their electricity from nuclear in 2019. New Hampshire is largest at 61%. Next, South Carolina – 56%. Illinois has the most nuclear reactors (11) and the most nuclear generating capacity, 54% of its in-state generation was from nuclear power in 2019.
Several other parts of the report may interest ECC readers.
- The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi, is the largest single nuclear reactor in the United States – 1,400 megawatts (MW).
- The largest nuclear plant is the Palo Verde nuclear plant in western Arizona with three reactors. It is the largest power plant in the United States by generation. In 2019 Palo Verde produced nearly 32 million megawatthours.
- Two new nuclear reactors are under construction in Georgia at the existing Vogtle nuclear plant. Each new reactor has a planned electricity generation capacity of about 1,100 MW.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses nuclear reactors to operate initially for 40 years. After that, reactors can apply to renew their operating licenses for up to 20 years at a time.
Most of the nuclear units in the U.S. have renewed their licenses for another 20 years, and a second or subsequent license renewal process is underway. As a part of license renewal, operating companies must demonstrate that the units meet all safety requirements and have in place special monitoring programs to ensure all safety systems and components continue to operate safely and reliably.
In late 2019, the NRC approved a subsequent license renewal for two units of the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating facility in Florida, marking the first time a nuclear reactor’s lifespan has been extended from 60 to 80 years.
The NRC also approved Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station’s Units 2 and 3 (Pennsylvania) to continue operating to 80 years in March 2020.
Feature image of Brunswick Plant from Duke energy media gallery.