Nuclear, O&M

Houston price surge subsides; FitzPatrick nuclear plant returning to service

After seeing its spot power price spike to $93/MWh the previous day, Houston saw its spot price decline 50% to $46.50/MWh in the prices posted Oct. 8 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The price run-up had been attributed to a combination of 90 degree temperatures in October along with a significant amount of generation going offline – including the scheduled refueling of the Luminant Comanche Peak 1 nuclear unit, which started a refueling and maintenance outage over the weekend.

A look at the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for Houston shows that high temperatures will remain in the low 90s on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. But either market worries about there being enough power are starting to subside, or residents might be getting used to the warm October weather.

Speaking of nuclear plant refueling outages, it appears that the Entergy (NYSE:ETR) FitzPatrick plant in Lycoming, N.Y., is returning to service. The 1970s vintage boiling water reactor (BWR) that draws its cooling water from Lake Ontario has an operating capacity of roughly 850 MW.

The facility was listed at 17% generation on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) daily reactor status report. Entergy’s FitzPatrick nuclear plant began its 21st refueling and maintenance outage on Aug. 24.

In addition to replacing 184 fuel assemblies in the reactor and perform various maintenance activities, tests and inspections, workers were scheduled to do a complete retube of the plant’s main condenser.

The life span for the retubed condenser is projected to exceed the station’s extended period of operation. In 2008 the NRC FitzPatrick’s renewed operating license allowing the station to operate an additional 20 years beyond the original license, to 2034, Entergy has said.

This article was republished with permission from