Clearly decisions on granting life extension will rest with the regulator of the country in question. He will need to have established procedures in place and if not already available, these will take time to develop. There are now precedents in a number of countries on regulators considering or having already granted applications. For example, in the UK, the NII have already extended the lifetime of some of the Magnox reactors beyond 40 years. Several US utilities have applied for lifetime extension. The issue is now under consideration in Canada, Japan and European countries, including Russia (for some designs).

2.8.3 Political Factors

Undoubtedly, the climate of acceptability of nuclear power has changed during the lifetime of plants in many countries. Many plants commenced operation when the view that ‘nuclear power would be too cheap to meter’ was being expounded and attitudes towards nuclear power were very positive. Now, decades later there may be a moratorium in certain countries on extending plant operation beyond the original operating life. Nevertheless, there are a number of countries that are not opposed to the continued operation of nuclear power plant and the decision will then become one of economics and safety compliance.

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