Palo Verde unit 2 sets operational run record

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 2 recorded the best performance in plant history beginning with its last refueling outage in spring 2011 to the current scheduled maintenance and refueling outage, which commenced over the weekend.

The 1,340-megawatt unit operated for a plant-record 518 consecutive days, producing enough electricity over that time to equal the production of almost three Hoover Dams.

“Palo Verde provides a reliable supply of low-cost electricity which—particularly through the hot Arizona summers—is essential to our customers,” said Randy Edington, Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service Co., the operator and largest owner of Palo Verde.

The previous Palo Verde record for consecutive days on-line, also held by Unit 2, was 515, completed in 1999. Unit 1 and 3’s longest consecutive runs are 502 and 509 days, respectively.

Palo Verde’s three units are on an 18-month refueling cycle, with two refueling outages scheduled each year – one in the spring and another in the fall. About a third of the nuclear fuel is replaced during each planned outage. Nuclear power plants provide “base load” energy which means these plants operate at all times whenever they are available. This is because of their low production cost and stable output of electricity.

In the year and a half since its previous refueling, Unit 2 has consistently operated at full capacity, generating vital electricity for millions of customers across the Southwest.

“When we operate the units efficiently over an 18-month cycle, we get exceptional value from the nuclear fuel that is loaded in the reactor,” added Edington. “In this case, we were able to derive all the expected energy from the fuel in Unit 2, which is of tremendous benefit to our customers and the customers of the other Palo Verde owners.”

Palo Verde is the largest energy producer in the United States. Its three units can generate more than 4 million kilowatts of safe, clean, reliable, low-cost electricity every hour – enough to serve about 4 million people. Over the quarter century of operation, it has surpassed 30 billion kilowatt hours seven times, including a national record 31.3 billion kilowatt hours in 2011. This is a level of production that no other U.S. generating station has approached.

In addition to the energy produced, Palo Verde has an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion in Arizona through taxes, salaries, purchases of materials and services, and more.

“These accomplishments demonstrate our vision and commitment to SAFELY and efficiently generate electricity for the long term,” said Edington.

Palo Verde is operated by APS and jointly owned by APS, Salt River Project, Southern California Edison Co., El Paso Electric Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Southern California Public Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties.

APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.