Unit 2 at PPL Corporation's Susquehanna nuclear plant in Luzerne County, Pa., resumed generating safe, reliable electricity for the power grid Monday (5/25) after completing its scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
Susquehanna's nuclear professionals replaced approximately 40 percent of the unit's uranium fuel, and performed maintenance and ongoing upgrades. The Susquehanna plant's two generating units have planned refueling and maintenance outages every 24 months.
"We made significant investments to further improve the safety and long-term reliability of Unit 2," said Timothy S. Rausch, senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer for PPL Susquehanna. "This included installation of more than 200 new turbine blades and replacement of a 24-ton pump and motor that circulates water through the plant's reactor." In addition to Susquehanna's engineering, technical and maintenance professionals, more than 1,000 supplemental workers supported the endeavor.
The turbine modifications address blade cracking issues the plant has experienced in the past. Similar modifications were completed on Unit 1 in 2014. With modifications now complete on both units, the Susquehanna plant does not expect to require any additional special turbine maintenance outages related to this issue.
Additionally, the plant recently completed construction of a new facility, as well as testing and integration of enhanced portable backup equipment that is part of the U.S. nuclear power industry's response to the 2011 accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan.
"Susquehanna has invested more than $90 million in portable equipment and supplies that are housed in a steel-reinforced concrete building designed to survive catastrophic events. Along with the facility and components, we have completed training with our team of dedicated nuclear professionals to ensure the safety of our facility," said Rausch, who was among the first group of U.S. nuclear power executives to visit the Fukushima plant after the accident.
With this investment the Susquehanna plant has strengthened an already safe design. In conjunction with an industry commitment to be prepared for the unexpected, the plant is now equipped to respond to extreme natural disasters, as well as any event beyond the original, conservative design requirements.
Susquehanna's Unit 1 reactor is continuing to operate at full power and the plant, located in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.
PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), with 2014 revenues of $11.5 billion, is one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector. The PPL family of companies delivers electricity and natural gas to about 10 million customers in the United States and the United Kingdom.