Comanche Peak Unit 2 goes offline in Texas prematurely

The Luminant Comanche Peak 2 nuclear facility in Texas was listed at zero power early Oct. 6 after going offline prematurely prior to a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.

The nuclear power unit had already reduced power to 47% on Oct. 3 in preparation for a refueling outage when the “Steam Generator 3 Feed Control Valve failed to control in Automatic or Manual resulting in excessive feed water flow. Control Room Operators manually tripped the reactor and aligned Auxiliary Feed water,” according to an event report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Comanche Peak Unit 2 completed its last refueling outage in late April 2014, according to a publication from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

Each of Comanche Peak’s two units power down once every 18 months for refueling, a company spokesperson said.

Nuclear units typically refuel during the fall or spring when power demand is low. As of early Oct. 6, 16 of the nation’s 99 nuclear units were listed at zero power generation.

Located in Somervell County, Texas, Comanche Peak is a dual-unit pressurized water reactor (PWR). Both units were commissioned in the early 1990s and each of the units has a generating capacity of roughly 1,200 MW.

During 2008, while there was considerable optimism about building new nuclear plants in the United States, Luminant filed an application with the NRC to build and operate two new nuclear units at the Comanche Peak site. The company effectively put that application on the backburner in late 2011.

Luminant is a competitive power generation company that is part of Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings (EFH). The parent company is engaged in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Luminant has more than 13,700 MW of generation in Texas, including 2,300 MW fueled by nuclear power and 8,000 MW fired by coal, according to a company website.

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.