A huge power uprate of 149 MWe at unit 2 of Florida Power & Light's St Lucie nuclear power plant has been approved by the US nuclear regulator. It is part of a $3 billion project to boost nuclear output that will save $3.8 billion in fossil fuel costs.
|Uprates are planned at both units of the St Lucie plant (Image: FP&L)
FP&L applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in February 2011 to raise the thermal output of St Lucie 2 from 2070 MWt to 3020 MWt. This translates into a 17% increase in power output from the pressurized water reactor, from some 853 MWe to 1002 MWe.
The NRC determined that FP&L could safely increase the reactor's power output primarily by carrying out significant upgrades to several plant systems and components, including the steam and power conversion system and the condensate and feedwater system. As part of its evaluation, the NRC reviewed the company's analysis showing the plant's design can accomodate the increased power level.
FP&L plans to implement the uprate in the next few months. A similar uprate for St Lucie unit 1 was approved by the NRC on 9 July.
Under a contract signed in November 2008, Siemens will assist in the uprate of both St Lucie units by supplying new high-pressure turbines; new low-pressure turbines; complete modernization of the generators, including rewinds of the stators; generator rotor rewinds; refurbished exciters and certain field installation services.
FP&L is undertaking a program to add a total of 490 MWe across four of its reactors in Florida: Turkey Point units 3 and 4 and St Lucie units 1 and 2. The uprates will see the capacities of the two Turkey Point units increase by 12% each.
In late April, the company said that the uprate program is expected to cost approximately $2.95-3.15 billion. This increase from a previous 'non-binding' estimate of $2.32-2.48 billion is driven by additional labour and engineering needed to support regulatory requirements, 'design evolution' and the logistics of construction and implementation. Nevertheless, FP&L describes the uprate project as "still solidly cost-effective." Based on latest projections, the uprate will save an estimated $3.8 billion on fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and imported oil over its lifetime, said FPL.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News