Fermi 2 Gets Relicensed by the NRC

Fermi 2, a 1,170-MW boiling water reactor owned by DTE Electric on the western shore of Lake Erie, in Monroe County, Michigan., has garnered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) renewal permit to operate until March 2045.

DTE Electric submitted an application to the NRC to renew the 29-year-old reactor’s operating license in April 2014. The original operating license for the reactor would have expired in March 2025.

DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant.

Fermi 2 single-cycle, forced circulation GE-BWR 4 first got its operating license in March 1985. Fermi 1, a sodium-cooled 's fast breeder reactor that was located nearby, has been decommissioned.

To date, the NRC has renewed the operating licenses of 87 commercial nuclear power reactors, though three of these have since permanently shut down. The NRC noted that applications for an additional eight renewals are currently under review: Indian Point 2 and 3 (filed in April 2007); Diablo Canyon 1 and 2 (filed in November 2009); Seabrook 1 (filed in June 2010); South Texas Project 1 and 2 (filed in October 2010); and Waterford 3 (filed in March 2016).

However, Pacific Gas and Electric, which owns the Diablo Canyon plant on the central California coastline, plans to permanently close the 2.3-GW reactor by 2025.

The NRC is meanwhile scheduled to issue a final second supplement to the final environmental impact statement for Indian Point by January 2017. The current operating licenses for Units 2 and 3 were set to expire in September 2013 and December 2015. The reactors continue to operate under “timely renewal,” which allows them to operate under existing licenses until the NRC makes a final determination on the license renewal application.  (Power Magazine, 12/19/2016)