Approval for 164 MWe more at Hope Creek

15 May 2008

PSEG Nuclear has been given permission by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to uprate its Hope Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey by 15%.

Hope Creek 

Hope Creek (Image: NRC)

The NRC determined that PSEG could safely raise the boiling water reactor's (BWR's) output by upgrading certain plant systems and components. It also reviewed PSEG's evaluations showing that plant's design can handle the increased power level.

The NRC's safety evaluation focused on several areas, such as the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes. For added confidence in the analysis, independent calculations and evaluations of selected areas were conducted, the NRC said.

PSEG plans to increase the single-unit plant's generating capacity from about 1061 MWe to 1225 MWe. The company intends to utilise most of the uprate this summer, increasing the plant's capacity to around 1185 MWe. PSEG has not indicated to the NRC when it will utilise the remainder of the uprate.

The utility initially requested the uprate in late 2005, but retracted its application to address questions and include more detail. The revised application was filed in September 2006 and accepted by the NRC for review the following month.

PSEG originally proposed the Hope Creek plant, adjacent to the Salem nuclear power plant, in the early 1970s and received a construction permit in November 1974. It was envisioned as a twin-unit plant, but in 1981 the project was scaled back to a single reactor unit, which began operating on 20 December 1986.

Since 1977, the NRC has approved 119 applications to uprate generating capacity of nuclear power reactors in the USA. In total, these uprates have added 5347 MWe of capacity. The commission said that between 2008 and 2013 it expects to receive a total of 26 uprate applications, which would add some 1814 MWe of capacity.