Duke Energy will apply for 20-year license renewals for all six of its nuclear power plants in the Carolinas, potentially extending their working lives to eight decades.
The announcement Thursday followed Duke’s pledge earlier this week to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by half by 2030, compared to 2005, and to zero net carbon emissions by 2050. Nuclear power plants don’t directly release carbon dioxide and generate nearly half of Duke’s electricity in the Carolinas.
Duke referred to the carbon-free aspect of the plants, and to their impact on the region’s economy, in announcing its bid to extend their operating lives.
Following the attention Duke got for its net zero carbon by 2050 commitment, this boost to the existing nuclear fleet proves to be a key part of that. As long as the existing fleet of nuclear reactors is safe, secure, and good to continue operating, this continued source of clean generation will be critical to the next few years of clean energy as other technologies continue to progress and take hold.