Nuclear, Reactors

PPL Susquehanna seeks to increase generating capacity

18 October 2006 — PPL Susquehanna has filed a request with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to increase the amount of electricity its nuclear power plant can generate.

“The Susquehanna plant is a proven, reliable and safe producer of electricity,” said Lou Ramos, community relations manager for PPL Susquehanna. “Increasing the output of an existing facility is a cost-effective way to meet the region’s need for additional electricity.”

The NRC will perform a thorough technical review of the application, in which PPL has provided analysis that demonstrates the plant can continue to operate safely at higher power levels, he said.

The total expected increase is 205 MW, which is enough electricity to supply about 160,000 homes. PPL would own 185 MW of that additional generation; the rest would belong to the plant’s co-owner, Allegheny Electric Cooperative.

The two reactors at the Susquehanna plant were designed and built to operate at the requested power level. On two previous occasions, PPL Susquehanna received NRC approval to increase generating capacity of the plant’s two units: by 4.5 percent in 1994-95, and by 1.4 percent in 2001-02.

If the NRC approves this request, the increase in electrical output will require modifying several systems, primarily turbines and generators, which are non-nuclear components of the plant.

The NRC review process is expected to take a minimum of 12 months.

PPL already has factored the increased generation output into its projected long-term compound annual growth rate of 11 percent and its 2010 earnings target of $3.50 per share. The capital costs for this power increase also are included in PPL’s capital plan.

The Susquehanna plant, located about seven miles north of Berwick, is jointly owned by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative, and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.