June 29, 2011
In this March 30, 2011 file photo, nuclear reactor operators Chris Heinz, left, and Roger Patterson check steps that need to be taken as they practice an emergency scenario on a simulator of a digital control panel at Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca , S.C. The nuclear plant will be the first in the U.S. to install an all-digital control panel for one of its reactors.
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When commercial nuclear power was getting its start in the 1960s and 1970s, industry and regulators stated unequivocally that reactors were designed only to operate for 40 years. Now they tell another story — insisting that the units were built with no inherent life span, and can run for up to a century, an Associated Press investigation shows.