Nuclear, Reactors

Exelon nuclear plant uprates to net 1,500 MW by 2017

12 June 2009 — A 38 MW increase in output at an Exelon nuclear plant is launching a series of power uprates across the company’s nuclear fleet that will net between 1,300 and 1,500 MW of additional generation capacity within eight years.

Equipment upgrades at Exelon’s Quad Cities nuclear plant in Illinois led the upgrade program.

Uprate projects are underway at Exelon’s Limerick and Peach Bottom nuclear stations in Pennsylvania and the Dresden, LaSalle and Quad-Cities plants in Illinois. Those are expected to produce nearly a quarter of the new megawatts.

The remaining uprate megawatts will come from additional projects at nine Exelon plants beginning in 2010 and ending in 2017.

The uprates are a part of Exelon 2020, the company’s plan to eliminate the equivalent of its 2001 carbon footprint by 2020.

Exelon’s uprate projects fall into four general categories:

  • Measurement uncertainty recapture (MUR) uprates, in which more accurate metering allows more precise reactor operations and more electrical output. MUR uprates increase reactor thermal power and require NRC approval.

  • Extended power uprates, in which reactor power can be safely increased by up to 20 percent after analysis, equipment upgrades and NRC approval.

  • Generator rewinds, in which replacing certain generator components with new copper makes it possible for the generator to produce more electricity. Power plants will continue to meet all NRC license basis requirements.

  • Turbine retrofits, in which advanced technology has allowed production of new and better shapes and sizes of turbine parts, such as blades, rotors and casings.

In addition to producing more megawatts, these component upgrades improve the reliability of the units and support operating license extensions.

Exelon operates the largest fleet of commercial nuclear reactors in the United States and the third largest in the world. A series of plant upgrades and uprates over the past 10 years have already added approximately 1,100 MW to Exelon Nuclear’s generation.

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