Florida Power and Light, Miami, has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Rockville, MD, for relicensing of its Turkey Point plant in Florida City, FL. If awarded, the relicensing will extend through 2033. The current 40-year license is set to expire in 2013.

Under the relicensing program, NRC reviews environmental issues and nuclear safety risks at the plant. The review process can span two years. At the center of the review will be the structural integrity of the plant's twin concrete and steel reactor towers, which went online in 1972 and 1973, respectively. NRC tests conducted in 1992 suggest reactor vessels at Turkey Point and 13 other plants nationwide may be aging faster than expected, making them prone to cracks from radiation damage.

Problems with auxiliary water systems for emergency reactor cooling, security breaches and failure to spot leaks prompted agency consideration of a plant shutdown in 1989. In 1990, $237 million was spent on upgrades. In 1997, the plant was named one of the two safest in the nation.