As of January 2016, there were 99 operating nuclear units in the U.S. and the NRC had renewed the operating licenses for 81 of those nuclear units allowing for up to 60 years of safe operation (83 renewed licenses had been issued, but 2 of those units are now shutdown). In addition, the NRC has license renewal applications under review for 11 more units and 5 units have announced plans to submit applications in the next few years. This brings the total of renewed licenses and plans for renewal to almost 100% of the 99 operating units in the U.S. At the end of 2015, there were about 40 nuclear units that had operated for more than 40 years and most of those units are eligible to seek a second license renewal for up to 80 years of operation. [1]

Unfortunately, in the past few years, 5 nuclear units have been prematurely shutdown and 3 additional units with licenses to operate for 60 years are scheduled to be prematurely shutdown between 2016 and 2019 for economic reasons. However, the majority of the nuclear plant owners are keeping the option open for long term operation beyond 60 years. NRC and the U.S. nuclear industry have made significant progress in preparing the way for a second round of license renewal applications. For example, the NRC published draft regulatory guidance on the second (or subsequent) license renewal process in December 2015. This paper presents the status of the efforts underway for possible applications for second license renewals for up to 80 years of operation and the issues that may result in additional premature plant shutdowns in the U.S.

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