Susquehanna Unit 1 returns to service

Unit 1 at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., resumed generating electricity for customers Thursday (6/7) after a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.

Plant operator PPL Susquehanna LLC also announced that it has found no turbine blade cracks on Unit 2, which was shut down May 30 for inspection based on the discovery of cracks on some Unit 1 turbine blades, which were replaced during the just-completed outage.

“Our focus on the long-term safe operation of the plant guides decisions on equipment issues such as these,” said Timothy S. Rausch, PPL Susquehanna senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We have determined that we do not need to replace blades on the Unit 2 turbine, but will install more diagnostic equipment on the turbine before restarting the unit.”

Diagnostic equipment on the turbines of both Susquehanna units will be used to validate the suspected causes currently under engineering review.

During the Unit 1 scheduled outage, which began March 31, workers completed hundreds of maintenance tasks and upgrades, replaced about 40 percent of the uranium fuel, and replaced turbine blades where indications of cracks were found during an inspection.

“Going into the refueling outage, we proactively planned the Unit 1 turbine inspection, and were well-prepared for the blade replacement work we conducted,” Rausch said.

PPL Corporation said the total impact of the turbine blade inspection and replacements for both units is not expected to be material and the company is maintaining its 2012 forecast of $2.15 to $2.45 per share in earnings from ongoing operations.

The two units at the Susquehanna plant have a generating capacity of about 2,500 megawatts.

The Susquehanna 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 LLC.