South Texas Project 2 should resume operation within weeks

A 1,350-MW pressurized water reactor that has been out of service since late November because of a generator problem is expected to resume operation by the end of April, an STP Nuclear Operating Co. spokesperson said April 5.

Unit 2 of the South Texas Project nuclear plant went offline around Nov. 29 due  to a problem on the non-nuclear side of the plant, the spokesperson said. The trip occurred the same month that the reactor unit had finished a regularly-scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.

Since late November, the unit’s 200-ton rotor has been “completely refurbished,” with much of the work done at a Siemens plant in Charlotte, N.C. STP staff representatives monitored the work that occurred at Charlotte and other off-site locations, the spokesperson said.

The South Texas representative said he did not currently have a cost estimate for the unplanned outage. A mild winter probably blunted the impact of the outage, he said.

The dual-unit South Texas Project nuclear complex near Bay City, Texas, began operation in the late 1980s. STP Nuclear Operating is held by a trio of owners: NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) (44%), San Antonio’s CPS Energy (40%) and Austin Energy (16%).

A few years ago NRG spearheaded a joint venture to develop a third unit at the nuclear complex. One of NRG’s partners in that effort was Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO). The South Texas 3 partners effectively gave up on their plans for a new unit after the meltdown occurred at TEPCO’s Fukushima-Daiichi plant in Japan in March 2011.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.