NRC renews Hope Creek nuclear plant for 20 additional years

The Hope Creek nuclear power plant has won approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate for another 20 years.

The license of the power plant, operated by Public Service Enterprise Group, had been set to run out in 2026. The renewal means the plant can continue until 2046.

The nuclear generating station, in Salem County, uses the same kind of containment technology as the plant that suffered damage in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.

That prompted a public hearing by Assembly members this spring into all four of the state’s nuclear power plants and their readiness to withstand catastrophic events.

In a statement today, the N.J. Sierra Club touched on that issue.

“The plant was designed to withstand certain major weather events but we need to look at the potential impacts of more extreme events, especially as climate change alters sea level rise and flooding. The NRC did not examine how above-ground spent fuel storage impacts safety at the plant during an emergency event.”

PSEG applauded the decision by the NRC.

“The license renewal of Hope Creek, as well as Salem last month, ensures clean nuclear energy is available for New Jersey and the region for years to come,” Tom Joyce, president and chief nuclear officer of PSEG Nuclear, said in a statement. “With the support of our employees, we will build upon our strong operating history of providing safe, reliable energy and continue to play a major role in supporting our local community who has supported us all these years.”

The NRC last month also renewed licenses for PSEG’s Salem Units 1 and 2.

NRC renews Hope Creek nuclear plant for 20 additional years