About Point Beach Nuclear Plant, Units 1 & 2

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Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant has two reactors, Unit 1 and Unit 2. The plant is located in Manitowoc County near Two Rivers, WI on the shores of Lake Michigan. The operating company that owns Point Beach is NextEra Energy. The type of reactors are pressurized-water reactors.

NextEra Energy has applied for a subsequent license of extension of 20 years for both reactor units. The NRC’s current Federal action is to decide whether to issue subsequent renewed facility operating licenses for Point Beach authorizing an additional 20 years of operation. If the NRC grantsNextEra subsequent renewed licenses, the company could continue to operate Point Beach until October 2050 (Unit 1) and March 2053 (Unit 2). These type of reactors were originally built to operate for 40 years and now they are in their 51st and 48th years of operation. The license extension would have them operate for 80 years!

 

You can view the application here. An environmental report was required for the application, view NextEra’s environmental report here

UNIT 1

Operating license issued: 10/05/1970

Renewed license issued: 12/22/2005

License Expires: 10/05/2030

Applied subsequent license renewal: 11/05/2020

UNIT 2

Operating license issued: 03/08/1973

Renewed license issued: 12/22/2005

License expires: 03/08/2033

Applied subsequent license renewal: 11/05/2020

Replacing Point Beach Nuclear Reactors

PBNP can be replaced by renewable energy, storage and with energy conservation and efficiency. Already it has been shown that renewable energy is becoming less expensive where as nuclear energy is rising in costs. Seeing how the current licenses for the reactors expire in 2030/2033, we have 9 and 12 years to develop infrastructure for replacement energy needs.  

View graph comparing cost per megawat hour for energy generation technologies here >>

ABOUT NUCLEAR POWER IN THE UNITED STATES

CURRENT STATUS OF NUCLEAR POWER IN U.S.

There have been renewed licenses issued for 94 nuclear units (8 have ceased operations). Then 8 units with 40-year licenses (Diablo Canyon will shutdown 2024/2025). Followed by 82 units have a 60-year licenses. The longest licenses are 4 units with 80-year licenses (Turkey Point and Peach Bottom). There are currently three applications under review for license extensions including Surry Power Station, Units 1 and 2, North Anna Power Station, Units 1 and 2, and Point Beach, Units 1 and 2. (source)

As of November 2020, there were 21 power reactors undergoing decommissioning as well as 2 power reactors that have permanently ceased operations: Pilgrim and Three Mile Island Unit 1. (see a map here)

EMBRITTLEMENT IN NUCLEAR REACTORS

Embrittlement is the loss of strength, ductility and resistance to cracking. In nuclear reactors, there are steel containers called reactor pressure vessels that hold nuclear fuel when the reactor is operating. Overtime, the particles (neutrons) hit that steel and that steel becomes weaker. However, some reactor pressure vessels were made with copper which is even more prone to embrittlement. This leads to embrittled reactors being more at risk of pressurized thermal shock related accident.

Information on “Aging Nuclear Power Plants focusing in particular on irradiation embrittlement of pressure vessels Nuke Info Tokyo No. 148” available here.

NOTABLE NUCLEAR REACTOR ACCIDENTS (GLOBALLY)

  • Fukushima Daiichi (2011)

  • Chernobyl (1986)

  • Three Mile Island (1978)

  • Enrico Fermi Unit 1 (1966)

  • SL-1 (1961)

  • Sodium Reactor Experiment (1959)

  • Windscale (1957)