NRC updates on uprates

16 June 2011

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved 10 nuclear power plant uprates adding 884 MWt (about 295 MWe) to US electricity generating capacity in the year from May 2010 to May 2011. Eight of these, totalling 364 MWt, were the result of measurement uncertainty recapture (MUR) uprates, which do not require significant modifications to plant or equipment. Two extended power uprates (EPU), which typically do require significant modifications, added a total of 520 MWt at the two Point Beach pressurised water reactors. The NRC is currently reviewing 11 uprates – ten EPUs and one MUR – which if approved would add up to 4118 MWt (some 1372 MWe) of capacity, and anticipates receiving ten further applications in fiscal 2011 (10 MURs and 2 EPUs totalling 365 MWe) and 15 (9 MURs and 6 EPUs, totalling 829 MWe) in fiscal 2012. In its annual status report on power uprates, the NRC noted that some licensees include other requests with uprate applications that could perhaps have been submitted and approved separately in a practice known as "bundling", which it says can significantly delay the review process. It has asked applicants to voluntarily limit the amount of bundling where appropriate.