15 May 2008 — PSEG Nuclear said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a 15 percent uprate to its Hope Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey.
The NRC said that PSEG could safely raise the boiling water reactor’s output by upgrading certain plant systems and components. It also reviewed PSEG’s evaluations showing that plant’s design can handle the increased power level.
The NRC’s safety evaluation focused on areas such as the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes. Independent evaluations of selected areas were also conducted.
PSEG says it plans to increase the single-unit plant’s capacity from about 1061 MW to 1225 MW. The company intends to use most of the uprate this summer, increasing the plant’s capacity to around 1185 MW. PSEG has not said when it plans to use the remainder of the uprate.
The utility requested the uprate in late 2005, but retracted its application to address questions and include more detail. The revised application was filed in September 2006 and accepted by the NRC for review the following month.
PSEG originally proposed the Hope Creek plant, adjacent to the Salem nuclear power plant, in the early 1970s and received a construction permit in November 1974. It was envisioned as a twin-unit plant, but was scaled back to a single reactor unit in 1981, which began operating on 20 December 1986.
Since 1977, the NRC has approved 119 applications to uprate the capacity of nuclear power reactors in the U.S. In total, these uprates have added 5347 MW of capacity. The commission said that between 2008 and 2013 it expects to receive a total of 26 uprate applications, which would add some 1814 MW of capacity.
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