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  1. Regarding long life cores, and as most plant engineers will tell you, there is much more to do during a refueling outage than just replace the fuel. Steam plants need periodic maintenance and much of the non-nuclear section of the plant is composed of commercial grade piping, valves, pumps, etc. I’m all in favor of longer life cores, but they also need to make some long life, minimal maintenance steam plants, too.

  2. Many of the plants in western Europe have multiple trains such that there is always a train under preventative maintenance while online. Of course, this brings in the issue of capital cost (more trains = more $) vs cost savings from longer runs. Multiple trains are not the only way to allow for online maintenance, but illustrative of the idea.