BEAVER VALLEY FirstEnergy seeks extension for nuclear license

AKRON (AP) -- FirstEnergy Corp. wants a 20-year operating license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the two-unit Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in western Pennsylvania.
Subsidiary FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.'s 1,500-page renewal application seeks to extend 40-year operating licenses for each unit by 20 years.
The license for Unit 1, originally granted in 1976, would extend to 2036, and the license for Unit 2, granted in 1987, would continue to 2047. The application is expected to take about 28 months to review, with a decision from the NRC expected in the summer of 2007.
The license extension application well ahead of license expiration involves engineering reviews of equipment structures and programs. Last fall, Beaver Valley asked the NRC for permission to increase the generating capacity of the two units by approximately 8 percent.
"Our plant is in good shape," said M. Scott Shields. "It's running safely and dependably. It's just a business decision."
NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said about 30 of 103 operating reactors have been granted license extension. He said early extension helps power companies with long-term planning.
Any opponents to a license extension will be able to request a public hearing, but the NRC is not aware of any major operating issues now at the Beaver Valley units, Sheehan said.
FirstEnergy has notified the NRC that it expects to seek license extension for its Ohio nuclear plants, Davis-Besse in Oak Harbor, in 2008 and Perry in North Perry, in 2010.