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Government/Politics

STP Nuclear Power Plant License Extended

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a license extension for the South Texas Project nuclear power plant. TPR’s David Martin Davies reports STP is getting another 20 years to produce electric power.

The STP Nuclear power plant was first licensed and began operating in 1988 – supplying power to its three partner owners CPS-Energy San Antonio, Austin Energy and the private firm NRG.

The nuclear power plant produces 27-hundred megawatts of electricity which powers 2 million homes and businesses in Texas and accounts for a fourth of the carbon free electricity on the Texas grid – according to the STP.

The original 40-year federal nuclear operating license was set expire in 2027 and 2028 for the two reactor units respectively – but with the license extension the facility is approved for operation until 2047- 2048

Mike Schaffer is the General Manager of STP

"Thousands and thousands of hours of effort to try to put the whole thing together to prove that the plant’s sound, the plant’s safe. We can run it efficiently and we understand from a life cycle perspective the condition of the plant – what do we need to do to continue to maintain it.”

Schaffer said the license extension is not a rubber stamp from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He said the application for the extension was filed ten years ago and required a top to bottom rigorous inspection.

Recently the STP, which is located in Matagorda County – 70 miles southwest of Houston, has come under scrutiny for its operations during Hurricane Harvey. During the storm the facility was operating at 100 percent power while employees were sequestered onsite for 7 days unable to leave.