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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 August 1, 2023, 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 3 at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia that began commercial operation on July 31, 2023. The next-youngest operating reactor is Watts Bar Unit 2, in Tennessee, which began commercial electricity generation in October 2016.

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:
Does EIA have data on each power plant in the United States?
Nuclear power plant data
Status of NRC reactor license renewal applications

Last updated: August 3, 2023.

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