By Phoenix Business Journal

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station has received a completed safety check through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, clearing a hurdle in its quest for an extended license.

The NRC issued its final safety evaluation report earlier this week and found no open safety items that would affect its approval.

Arizona Public Service Co., which operates the plant as a part owner, submitted the renewal application in December 2009 to extend the licenses of Palo Verdeâ¿¿s three reactors, which are still in the middle of their 40-year initial license.

The report, which documents the NRCâ¿¿s site visits and inspections, is required as part of the license renewal process. Now completed, the report will be forwarded to the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.

The independent ACRS is scheduled to decide at a meeting Feb. 10-12 whether to move the report forward. If forwarded, NRC officials said it could be taken up by the commission.

The road to renewal may be smoother for Palo Verde because there have been no petitions filed against the renewal, meaning it could go through the commission without a hearing and on to the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation for final approval.

Palo Verdeâ¿¿s three reactors currently are licensed through June 1, 2025; April 24, 2026; and Nov. 25, 2027.

The plant was on the NRC watch list in 2007 because of safety issues, but was removed in 2009.

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