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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

The average age of U.S. commercial nuclear power reactors that were operational as of April 30, 2024, is about 42 years. The oldest operating reactor is Nine Mile Point Unit 1 in New York State, which entered commercial service in December 1969. The newest reactor to enter service is Vogtle Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia that began commercial operation on April 29, 2024. The next-youngest operating reactor is Vogtle Unit 3, which began commercial electricity generation in July 2023.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses new commercial nuclear reactors to originally operate for 40 years. Before expiration of the original license, licencees can apply for a 20-year operating license extension. The NRC may subsequently grant a third 20-year operating license extension for a total operational life of 80 years.

Learn more:
Plant Vogtle Unit 4 begins commercial operation
Articles on nuclear energy
Does EIA publish the location of electric power plants, transmission lines, and substations?
Does EIA have data on each power plant in the United States?
U.S. Nuclear Generation and Generating Capacity
Status of NRC reactor license renewal applications

Last updated: May 8, 2024.

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