March 14 The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
is seeking public comment on a draft report assessing the
environmental impacts of extending the operating license for
FirstEnergy Corp's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in
In February, the NRC staff said it found no environmental
issues that would preclude a 20-year license renewal for the
The NRC said it will hold two public meetings on March 25 at
a site near the plant and accept comments through April 21.
The renewal of the Davis-Besse operating license is
controversial in part because the reactor was the site of what
the NRC has called one of the most dangerous nuclear incidents
in the United States.
In 2002, workers discovered corrosion had eaten a hole in
the plant's reactor vessel head, which kept the unit shut until
2004. Although the hole did not hurt anyone, the NRC fined
FirstEnergy more than $5 million for the actions that led to the
Davis-Besse is a pressurized-water reactor located
approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of Toledo.
The current operating license expires April 22, 2017.
FirstEnergy submitted its license renewal application to the NRC
on August 27, 2010.
The draft environmental impact statement is a step in the
license renewal review process, which proceeds along two tracks
- one for safety issues and another for environmental issues.
The NRC staff issued its final safety evaluation report in
September 2013 and expects to issue the final supplemental
environmental impact statement in September 2014.
The NRC, however, has said it will not make a final
licensing decision on any reactor until it completes its waste
confidence rule making for the long-term storage of nuclear
waste, currently scheduled for September 2014.
The NRC said the date of a final decision on the Davis-Besse
license renewal and for all 18 pending reactor license renewals
are still to be determined.
For a factbox on U.S. nuclear renewals, see