|Fig. 1: South Texas Nuclear Generating Station (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
Located near Bay City, the South Texas Project, otherwise known as the South Texas Nuclear Project Electric Generating Station, is one of two operating nuclear power plants in Texas, Unit 1 and Unit 2. This plant is shown in Fig. 1. The two plants in Texas provide clean energy for up to 2 million homes in the state. Among the places this plant provides electricity are San Antonio, Austin and other surrounding communities. The ownership for the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station is divided across NRG Energy, CPS Energy and Austin Energy. The reactors of the South Texas Project began operating in 1980s and is one of the newest plants in the U.S. 
Since the opening of the plants, the operating license of the South Texas Project Unit 1 and 2 reactors were bound to expire by 2027 and 2028 respectively.  The state filed a renewal of license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A reactor license renewal consists of a technical review of safety and an environmental review. One particularly important aspect to consider prior to submitting a license renewal application is aging effects on the reactors. It has to be ensured that the plant is safe to operate up to the day of proposed extension. Finally, the NRC officially approved the renewal of the license of each reactor for another twenty years in 2017. Now, they are set to expire by 2047 and 2048 respectively. 
In addition to the renewal of the licenses of the two reactors, the NRC actually also granted the South Texas Project to add two more nuclear reactors.  However, natural gas is currently less expensive than nuclear energy.  Due to this and other economic reasons, owners of this center have decided to delay building new reactors for the future. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas is among ten states with the highest nuclear power generation capacity, so expansion of nuclear energy may occur in the future.
© Eyasu Kebede. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
 S. Chapa, "Trump Administration Renews License of South Texas Nuclear Plant," San Antonio Business Journal, 29 Sep 17.
 H. Fountain, "Nuclear: Carbon Free, but Not Free of Unease," The New York Times, 22 Dec 14.