SOUTHPORT, N.C., March 4, 2002 — Operators at CP&L’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant shut down and disconnected one of the facility’s two units from the electric grid Friday to begin a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
Taking Brunswick Unit 1 out of service ended the plant’s world record for the continuous operation of a light-water nuclear reactor, CP&L said. The unit operated safely and reliably for 707 days, 5 hours, and 39 minutes since the completion of its last refueling outage March 24, 2000.
“The performance of Unit 1 demonstrates that it is possible to continuously operate a light-water reactor throughout a two-year fuel cycle,” said Jack Keenan, vice president of the Brunswick Nuclear Plant. “While we will always shut down a unit when needed to ensure safety and reliability, our long-term goal is to regularly operate our units ‘breaker-to-breaker’ between refueling outages.”
In January, Brunswick Plant Unit 1 surpassed the previously held world record of 668 days that had been established in 1999 by Three Mile Island Unit 1. Worldwide, there are approximately 430 nuclear power plants located in 31 countries. Light-water reactors such as those operated at the Brunswick Plant are in operation in nearly 350 of these facilities.
“Equipment reliability and human performance at the Brunswick Plant have improved over the years, and we have plans to continue that trend into the future,” said Keenan. “In fact, both Brunswick Plant units have operated without being shut down since a Unit 2 refueling outage was completed on March 27, 2001, establishing a new plant record of 339 days of dual-unit continuous operations.”
“The key to our success both now and into the future lies with our dedicated and highly skilled workforce,” added Keenan. “Our recent accomplishments have been made possible by a workplace culture that values continuous improvement, solid communications, and good teamwork.”
The Brunswick Plant operates on two-year fuel cycles. Each spring, one of the plant’s reactors is shut down for approximately one month to replace some of the fuel and to perform a variety of maintenance activities. The 2002 refueling outage of Brunswick Unit 1 is its 14th since beginning commercial operation 25 years ago. In addition to refueling the reactor, many maintenance activities that cannot be performed while the plant is on line will be completed.
The first phase of a multi-year process to increase the plant’s electric output by approximately 15 percent will also be implemented during this outage. Major work activities include maintenance and upgrades on the main turbine-generator, several feedwater heaters and pumps, as well as enhancements to a variety of monitoring and control equipment.
Refueling outages at CP&L’s four nuclear units located in the Carolinas are scheduled during the spring and fall seasons when the peak demand for electricity is lowest. During these plant outages, other company generating facilities provide electricity to customers. Last year, CP&L’s nuclear generating plants produce approximately 45 percent of the company’s total generation.
“The fact that the Brunswick Plant has safely and reliably generated electricity for millions of people in the Carolinas can be attributed in large part to the top quality work performed in past refueling outages,” said Keenan. “Both our CP&L personnel and outside resources working this year’s outage fully understand the importance of an effective and safe outage. We expect to successfully return the plant to full service in early April.”
The Brunswick Nuclear Plant is located near Southport, N.C. CP&L, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, provides electricity and related services to more than 1.2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., and serves a territory encompassing over 33,000 miles including the cities of Raleigh, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Asheville in North Carolina and Florence and Sumter in South Carolina.
For more information about CP&L, visit the company’s Web site at: http://www.cpl.com.