Upton Urges NRC to Provide Certainty and Transparency in Reactor License Renewal Process to Protect Jobs and Affordable Power

January 27, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to provide greater transparency and certainty in the reactor license renewal process.  Although the NRC timeline for renewal is typically 22 to 30 months, that process has unexpectedly doubled in some instances.  The Pilgrim Power Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Vermont Yankee Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont, both submitted their renewal applications five years ago today.  Both licenses are set to expire in 2012, yet no decision on renewal is imminent. 

"Today marks an unfortunate milestone for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as the timeline for the reactor renewal process has now doubled without explanation, eclipsing 60 months with no end in sight for the Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee plants," said Upton. "With a dozen outstanding renewal applications, the alarming rate of delay has put thousands of good paying jobs in jeopardy and has threatened to disrupt a reliable source of clean, affordable energy for surrounding communities and businesses."  

According to the NRC's website, "License renewal is expected to take about 30 months, including the time to conduct an adjudicatory hearing, if necessary, or 22 months without a hearing."

"Gone are the days of reasonable expectations for a stable and predictable regulatory process," continued Upton. "This uncertainty and lack of transparency in the process is needlessly putting plants and thousands of jobs at risk. The President himself highlighted nuclear power during the State of the Union, but at a time when we should be focused on bringing more reactors online, the NRC's delays have raised concerns with keeping existing plants in operation.  The NRC must do better as nuclear power is critical as we seek to meet our nation's growing energy demands through an 'all of the above' approach."

 

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