How often are nuclear power plants inspected?

Each year, NRC specialists conduct 10 to 25 routine inspections at each nuclear power plant, depending on the activities at the plants and issues that may occur.

How often do nuclear power plants need maintenance?

Nuclear power plants typically refuel every 18 to 24 months, often during the fall and spring when electricity demand is lower. During a refueling outage, plants typically optimize downtime by scheduling facility upgrades, repairs, and other maintenance work to be completed while the reactor is offline.

Do nuclear plants need to be monitored?

Because these radioactive discharges can have environmental impacts — on humans, animals, plants, and sea life, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires licensees to monitor the discharges and analyze nearby environmental samples to ensure that the impacts of plant operations are minimized.

How long are nuclear plants licensed?

U.S. nuclear plants are licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate for 40 years. After that, plants can extend their operating licenses for up to 20 years at a time. Most of our nuclear power plants have already renewed their operating license once.

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Are nuclear power plants regulated?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for licensing facilities, commercial use of nuclear materials, facility inspection and the creation of standards and regulations for nuclear power plant safety. For more information on the NRC’s role, please visit Nuclear Security and Safeguards on NRC.gov.

How long can a nuclear power plant last without maintenance?

U.S. nuclear plants are proving that age is really just a number. As the average age of American reactors approaches 40 years old, experts say there are no technical limits to these units churning out clean and reliable energy for an additional 40 years or longer.

How often are nuclear rods replaced?

Typically, reactor operators change out about one-third of the reactor core (40 to 90 fuel assemblies) every 12 to 24 months.

How are nuclear power plants monitored?

The activities involved in monitoring the nuclear power plants consist of the collection of various types of environmental samples from the air, water, and terrestrial exposure pathways; analysis of the samples for radioactivity; and publication and public distribution of Environmental Monitoring Reports.

How long can a nuclear plant run regulators consider 100 years?

For decades, industry and regulators stated nuclear reactors were designed only to operate for 40 years. Now they insist the units were built with no inherent life span, and can run for up to a century.

How long does it take to get a nuclear power plant online?

Modern nuclear power plants are planned for construction in five years or less (42 months for CANDU ACR-1000, 60 months from order to operation for an AP1000, 48 months from first concrete to operation for an EPR and 45 months for an ESBWR) as opposed to over a decade for some previous plants.

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How long does it take to build a nuclear power plant?

According to the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), it takes about five to seven years to build a large nuclear unit. Once the nuclear power plant is built, it is tested by the electric company to see if it properly runs, and if the power plant passes that test, it is ready to be used.