As of January 2012, the NRC has renewed the operating licenses for 71 nuclear units, which will allow for up to 60 years of safe operation. In addition, the NRC has license renewal applications under review for 15 units and nuclear plant owners of more than 14 units have announced plans to submit applications over the next six years . This brings the total of renewed licenses and announced plans for license renewal to over 96% of the 104 currently operating nuclear units in the U.S.
This paper presents the status of the U.S. license renewal process and the U.S. efforts associated with the option of seeking a second license renewal for up to 80 years of safe nuclear plant operation. Currently there are 9 operating nuclear plants that are eligible to seek a second license renewal. It is likely that applications for a second renewal will be submitted to the NRC within the next few years. The factors that contributed to the positive and the negative trends for both the first license renewals for 60 years and the second renewals for 80 years of safe operation are presented and discussed.