Fortnightly Magazine - April 2013


Xcel Energy began a refueling outage and 71-MW uprate at the 600-MW Monticello nuclear plant.

Progress Energy Florida , a subsidiary of Duke Energy, will retire the Crystal River nuclear plant in Citrus County, Fla. The company is reviewing alternatives to replace the power produced by the unit, including the potential construction of a new natural gas-fired plant. The nuclear unit, which began operating in 1977, was shut down in the fall of 2009 for refueling and replacement of its steam generators when a delamination was discovered in the outer layer of the containment building’s concrete wall.

Babcock & Wilcox mPower (B&W mPower) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) signed a contract to prepare and support nuclear regulatory commission (NRC) review of a construction permit application for a B&W mPower small modular reactor (SMR) at TVA’s Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The DOE awarded a cost-sharing grant to B&W mPower in November 2012. Preliminary work at the Clinch River site is expected to begin once B&W mPower and the DOE sign a cooperative agreement for the grant funds. TVA expects to submit the construction permit application to the NRC in 2015.

Xcel Energy began a scheduled refueling outage at the 600-MW Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant , which includes work to increase output by 71 MW and improve plant efficiency. The uprate project, which includes equipment upgrades that started in 2009, will cost $500 million. Bechtel serves as the primary contractor, with subcontractors GE, PCI, Day & Zimmerman, Sulzer, and Collins Electric, among others. About 2,000 workers will be onsite during the outage. To meet electric demand while the plant is offline, Xcel Energy increases electricity production at its other generating plants, and purchases power on the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator wholesale market and directly from other utilities.

Alstom upgraded its 3-MW onshore turbines to handle stronger winds and thus reach higher capacity factors.

Alstom upgraded its 3-MW onshore ECO 100 Platform to maximize available wind resources. Alstom upgraded the ECO 110 turbine, currently designed for medium (Class II-A) wind sites, to handle medium and high winds (IEC Class II-A, and IS Class). The ECO 122 turbine, currently suitable for Class III sites, was upgraded for medium and low winds (IEC Class III-A, and II B Class). Alstom says the upgrades raise the net capacity factor to 48 percent for both turbines.

NRG Solar started commercial operations for the Alpine solar generating station, a 66-MW (AC) photovoltaic (PV) facility, which NRG says is the largest fully operational solar plant in California. The station’s output will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year agreement.

Southern California Edison (SCE) submitted additional information requested by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue discussion of the steps necessary to restart San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Unit 2, and to address current compliance with the plant’s technical specifications. The new information builds on the analysis and restart proposal SCE submitted to the NRC in October 2012 in response to NRC’s confirmatory action letter. The information addresses how SCE anticipates addressing ongoing steam generator analysis and interim measures beyond the proposed operating period. SCE proposed restarting Unit 2 at 70 percent power for five months to prevent the conditions that caused excessive tube wear in San