Mexico’s Secretary of Energy Rocio Nahle Garcia, with support from the National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards, has authorized a 30-year extension for the operating license for Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Station’s Unit 2.
Unit 1 at Mexico’s only nuclear power plant – comprised of two 775 boiling water reactors built by GE – completed a similar operations extension process two years ago. Unit 1, which went into commercial operations in 1989, is now licensed until 2050, while Unit 2 is now licensed through April 10 2055.
While a 30-year extension is relatively rare for the nuclear power industry, according to the World Nuclear Association, the plants are closely monitored and subjected to regular inspections that can shut down plants if risks rise past tolerable thresholds.
Laguna Verde is owned and operated by the Commission Federal de Electridad (CFE), which said the extension allows the company to remain “at the forefront of clean energy production in the country.” However, plans to increase nuclear power’s percentage of the country’s energy mix have not been forthcoming. Currently, Mexico’s electricity production is highly dependent on fossil fuels with 10 percent derived from oil and 63 percent from gas. Nuclear power makes up less than 5 percent of the country’s electricity.
Mexico’s Energy Transition Law stipulates that 35 percent of its electricity must be created from non-polluting sources by 2024; 39.9 percent by 2033 and 50 percent by 2050.
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