NRC seeks input on environmental review of Peach Bottom uprate

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is going out for public comment on a draft environmental assessment and draft finding of no significant impact covering a planned uprate of Exelon’s (NYSE: EXC) Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station (PBAPS) in Pennsylvania.

The NRC is considering issuance of license amendments for operation of PBAPS Units 2 and 3, located in York and Lancaster counties, Pa. The proposed amendments would authorize an increase in the maximum reactor power level from 3,514 MW thermal (MWt) to 3,951 MWt, the agency said in a notice to be published in the Oct. 24 Federal Register.

PBAPS consists of Units 1, 2, and 3 located on approximately 620 acres of land in Peach Bottom Township, York County, Pa., on the west bank of the Susquehanna River. The site is about 38 miles north of Baltimore, Md.

Units 2 and 3 are General Electric Type 4, Mark I boiling-water reactors. In addition to Units 2 and 3, the site contains turbine buildings, intake and discharge canals, auxiliary buildings, switchyards, an interim spent fuel storage installation, a training center and the retired Unit 1 reactor. Unit 1 was a prototype, high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor which operated from 1966 to 1974. Unit 1 is permanently shut down, defueled, and is maintained in a safe storage, surveillance, security, and maintenance condition.

The proposed change, referred to as an extended power uprate (EPU), represents an increase of about 12.4% above the current licensed thermal power level. This change is considered an EPU by the NRC because it exceeds the typical 7% power increase that can be accommodated with only minor plant changes. An EPU usually requires significant modifications to major plant equipment. The proposed EPU for PBAPS Units 2 and 3 will require significant modifications.

If approved, these amendments would allow the heat output of each reactor to increase, which would increase the flow of steam to the turbines. This would increase the production of electricity, increase the amount of waste heat delivered to the condensers, and slightly raise the temperature of the water discharged into Conowingo Pond.

Plant modifications to implement the EPU are expected to occur during normal refueling outages that occur for each reactor once every 24 months and typically last for 30 to 40 days. If the EPU is approved, Units 2 and 3 are expected to begin operating at the EPU core power level of 3,951 MWt in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.