NRC approves increased power output for St. Lucie nuclear power plant unit 2

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a power uprate request by Florida Power & Light (FP&L) that will increase the power output of St. Lucie Unit 2 by 17 percent, from approximately 853 to 1,002 megawatts electric.

A similar uprate was approved July 9 for St. Lucie Unit 1. The two pressurized-water reactors are located approximately 10 miles southeast of Ft. Pierce, Fla.

FP&L submitted a license amendment request on Feb. 25, 2011, (supplemented several times since) to raise the thermal output of St. Lucie Unit 2 from 2,700 to 3,020 megawatts thermal, which translates into the 17 percent increase in electricity generation.

The NRC staff’s evaluation 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, NRC staff reviewed the company’s analysis showing the plant’s design can accommodate the increased power level.

The NRC’s safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power uprate focused on several areas, including the plant’s steam generators, the reactor pressure vessel material surveillance program, pressurized thermal shock, and reactor internal and core support materials.

FP&L intends to implement the uprate in the next few months.