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International Conference to examine extending nuclear plant life

April 30, 2012 Share This!

World coming to Salt Lake City to discuss nuclear power, extending plant life

  • International conference will focus on extending the life world’s existing nuclear power plants.
    Photo courtesy of Tobin.

  • The 3rd International Conference on Nuclear Power Plant Life Management (PLiM) for Long Term Operations will be held May 13-17, 2012 at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.
    Photo courtesy of Steve Greenwood.

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SALT LAKE CITY – Representatives from 37 countries will be in Salt Lake City next month to discuss ways to safely and cost-effectively extend the life of many of the world's existing nuclear power plants. The group will also explore how existing reactors can effectively deal with increased safety expectations in a post-Fukushima world.

The 3rd International Conference on Nuclear Power Plant Life Management (PLiM) for Long Term Operations will be held May 13-17, 2012 at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. The conference is organized by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, and is hosted by the U.S. government through its Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy. DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is organizing the conference on behalf of the NRC and DOE.

Keynote and plenary speakers include NRC Commissioner George Apostolakis, IAEA Deputy Director General Alexander Bychkov, Idaho Governor Butch Otter and director of the Idaho National Laboratory, John Grossenbacher. A tour of the nearby 900-square mile Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls will follow the conference.  Additional details on the conference, including an agenda, can be found at the conference website.

Currently, there are nearly 440 operating commercial nuclear power reactors in 31 countries, providing about 14 percent of the world's electricity. Another 63 plants — including 26 in China, and five in the U.S. — are under construction. In the United States, 104 plants provide about 19 percent of the nation's electricity. Most U.S. plants were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, and to date 71 U.S. plants have received license extensions to operate for 60 years while the remainder are expected to request 20-year license extensions.  Further, the U.S. nuclear industry is considering subsequent license renewals to extend the operating life to 80 years.

"The world's nuclear power plants were licensed to operate between 30 and 40 years, but many may be able to operate well in excess of that, to 60 or even 80 years," said Leonard Bond, the conference organizer from PNNL. "This conference will bring together researchers, designers, engineers, utility representatives, manufacturers and regulators from around the world to share information on technical and ageing issues that can lead to safe and reliable long-term operation of nuclear power plants." 

The Salt Lake gathering is the third PLiM conference and the first in the United States. Previous conferences were held in Budapest in 2002 and Shanghai in 2007. In addition to technical sessions, the conference will include poster sessions, panel discussions and an exhibition.

More than 350 attendees are expected, and will come from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, Vietnam, the United States and more than 20 other nations.


Registration for the conference is closed, but media wishing to cover the conference should contact Greg Koller at (509) 372-4864; or Teri Ehresman at (208) 521-9882. Technical questions should be directed to Leonard Bond at (509) 554-4886. Conference logistics questions should be directed to Becky Ford at (509) 528-6741.

Tags: Energy, Nuclear Power

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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