Frequently Asked Questions

How old are U.S. nuclear power plants and when was the last one built?

The average age of U.S. commercial reactors is about 34 years. The oldest operating reactors are Oyster Creek in New Jersey, and Nine Mile Point 1 in New York. Both entered commercial service on December 1, 1969. The last newly built reactor to enter service was Watts Bar 1 in Tennessee, in 1996. In 2007, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted to complete construction of Watts Bar 2. As of February 2015, the TVA estimates that commercial operation of Watts Bar 2 could begin between September 2015 and June 2016.

U.S. commercial nuclear reactors are licensed to operate for 40 years by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Prior to termination of the original license, companies may apply to the NRC for 20-year license extensions.

Learn more:

Status of NRC reactor license renewal applications
Status of Watts Bar 2

Last updated: February 20, 2015


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