September 9, 2013 / 2:20 PM / 6 years ago

Ohio Davis-Besse reactor moves step closer to new license

Sept 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff said there were no safety issues that would preclude a 20-year license renewal for FirstEnergy Corp’s 894-megawatt Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio.

The NRC staff issued the findings as part of its final safety evaluation report released Friday.

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 corrosion.

Davis-Besse is a pressurized-water reactor located approximately 20 miles 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 NRC said the final safety report “is a significant milestone in the license renewal review process,” which proceeds along two tracks - one for safety issues and another for environmental issues.

The NRC said its staff is still reviewing the environmental part of the Davis-Besse application.

The NRC said it will not make a final licensing decision on any reactor until it completes its waste confidence rulemaking for the long-term storage of nuclear waste, currently scheduled for September 2014.

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