Frequently Asked Questions

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

The average age of U.S. commercial reactors is about 36 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 newest reactor to enter service is Tennessee’s Watts Bar Unit 2, which began operation in 2016. The next-youngest operating reactor is Watts Bar Unit 1, also in Tennessee, which entered service in 1996.

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:
Does EIA have data on each power plant in the United States?
Nuclear power plant data as of June 30, 2013 (with revision on February 3, 2016)
Watts Bar Unit 2 Complete and Commercial
Status of NRC reactor license renewal applications

Last updated: June 21, 2017


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