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 35 years. The oldest operating reactors are Oyster Creek in New Jersey, and Nine Mile Point 1 in New York. Both reactors entered commercial service on December 1, 1969. The last newly built reactor to enter service was Tennessee's Watts Bar 1 in 1996. In 2007, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted to complete construction of Watts Bar 2. The TVA estimates that commercial operation of Watts Bar 2 could begin in 2016.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses U.S. commercial nuclear reactors for 40 years. 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 4, 2016

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