Cook nuclear plant gets $851m approved for life cycle projects

An American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) subsidiary has gotten $851m approved for “life cycle management” work at the two-unit D.C. Cook nuclear plant in Bridgman, Mich.

AEP’s Indiana Michigan Power said recently that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has approved the spending, which is designed to make the pressurized water reactors (PWRs) run effectively through Cook’s 20-year operating license extension.

A few years ago the company got an NRC license extension that allows Cook 1 to run until 2034 and Cook 2 to run until 2037.

I&M had proposed an asset management program of over $1bn that would be performed over multiple years on various systems and equipment.

The MPSC approved the complete scope of activities to be performed, including the sizing of certain additions to allow for a potential capacity expansion if needed in the future. The two units together have a current capacity of more than 2,100 MW.

The MPSC granted I&M’s request for a certificate of necessity at the Cook plant and approved a cost estimate of $851m. This is less than the full cost of the life cycle project because some of the work is already approved and in service or are being performed outside of the six-year timeframe required for pre-approval under Michigan law.

The life cycle project was reviewed and approved outside of a traditional general rate case proceeding. To assure that the project is managed effectively, I&M will review the status of the LCM Project with the commission every six months and will retain an independent expert to monitor I&M’s project management and cost controls and report its findings to the MPSC, the company said.

The life cycle work scheduled for Cook includes upgrades of certain high pressure and low pressure turbines, computer enhancements and other improvements – including new security measures, a company spokesperson told GenerationHub.

Altogether there are about 117 work projects involved in the life cycle project, the company spokesperson said.

“I&M is always mindful of the impact that rate increases have on our customers particularly as our economy continues to struggle” said I&M President and COO Paul Chodak III. “The Life Cycle Management Project is the most economical and reasonable means of meeting our customers’ energy needs now and in the future. Our strategy for carrying out the LCM Project will mitigate the rate impact on customers and allow the LCM Project to be completed at the lowest cost reasonably possible.”

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.