News, Nuclear

NRC approves 77 MW uprate of nuclear capacity at Farley 1 and 2

Southern Co.’s nuclear division has federal approval to increase its capacity at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant by nearly two percent.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission OK’d the request by Southern Nuclear to up the heat rate at Farley Units 1 and 2 by 1.7 percent. The move would add approximately 34 MW of capacity to Unit 1 and 43 MW to Unit 2, according to the report.

The NRC staff determined that Southern Nuclear could safely increase both reactors’ heat output, primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow. Southern Nuclear is also improving some plant systems not regulated by the NRC to more efficiently convert the increased reactor output to electricity.

Farley is located 18 miles east of Dothan, Ala. It’s current combined capacity for Units 1 and 2 is 1,820 MW (910 each).

Southern Nuclear intends to implement Unit 1’s uprate within 180 days of completing the unit’s spring 2021 refueling outage and Unit 2’s uprate within 180 days of completing that unit’s fall outage this year. The NRC’s safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power u-prate focused on several areas, including the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.

The NRC published a Federal Register notice regarding the Farley power uprate application in February that provided the public an opportunity to comment or request a hearing. The agency’s evaluation of the Farley power uprate is available through the NRC’s ADAMS electronic document database.

Farley Unit 1 was commissioned in 1977 and Unit 2 four years later.