News, Nuclear, O&M, Reactors

Duke’s Catawba Nuclear Station marks 35th year in operation

Workers pour concrete to form a containment building at the Catawba Nuclear Station construction phase in the 1980s. Photo courtesy Duke Energy.

(This story first ran in Duke Energy’s Illumination blog.)

What were you doing in 1985? Graduating high school, getting your first promotion or maybe even being born. Catawba Nuclear Station unit 1 came online 35 years ago on June 29, 1985. (Unit 2 began commercial operation on Aug. 19, 1986.)

This year, we recognize 35 years of carbon-free, reliable nuclear energy generation at Catawba in York County, S.C., south of Charlotte. The plant produces 2,310 megawatts of electricity every hourenough to keep the lights on in more than 1.4 million homes.

Catawba Nuclear Station is owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number One, North Carolina Electric Membership Corp., Piedmont Municipal Power Agency and Duke Energy. It is licensed to operate through 2043. Duke Energy is applying for a second license renewal, which would allow the station to continue providing clean, reliable electricity until 2063.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary, groups of teammates began the year collecting items each week for 35 weeks to donate to nonprofits. For example, the station’s Community Outreach Council donated over 100 books to the Early Learning Partnership of York County and Piedmont Medical Center and the Security team donated over 300 items to Rock Hill’s Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen.

Nuclear generation accounts for about 20 percent of the overall U.S. electricity generation mix and more than half of the carbon-free electricity. Nuclear energy issues will be front and center in the Lowering Carbon with Thermal Power conference workshop at POWERGEN International.

Click here to read more about Catawba Nuclear Station in South Carolina and to see photos from its history.