FirstEnergy begins refueling outage at Davis-Besse

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) took the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, offline at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, for scheduled refueling and maintenance.

While the unit is offline, about a third of the unit’s 177 fuel assemblies will be replaced, subsidiary FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC) said in a March 28 news release.

Preventative maintenance and safety inspections to ensure continued safe and reliable operations also will be performed on major components including various pumps, valves, reactor vessel, steam generators and the cooling tower. 

A major project during the outage is replacement of two of the plant’s four reactor coolant pump motors. The 50-ton, 16-foot tall, 9,000-horsepower motors drive large pumps capable of pushing more than 100,000 gallons of water per minute through the reactor vessel, helping control reactor power and ensuring the fuel remains cooled.

Davis-Besse received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December 2015, and this work, along with the other outage inspections and preventative maintenance, will ensure the plant continues to operate safely and reliably during the period of extended operation.

More than 1,000 temporary contractor workers and FENOC and FirstEnergy employees will supplement the Davis-Besse workforce during the outage.

The 908-MW Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station has generated more than 14.5 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity since the completion of its last refueling in May 2014. 

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio.  Its FENOC subsidiary also operates the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa. and the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio. 

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.