It didn’t reveal an exact date, but Talen Energy (NYSE:TLN) said Sept 26 that it is planning to take a brief maintenance outage on Unit 2 at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, within the next few weeks.
As the company has discussed publicly for several years, Susquehanna has been working with the manufacturer of the main steam turbines for both units at the plant to understand and address issues associated with the formation of very small cracks in the metal blades.
Susquehanna generates electricity by boiling water to make steam that passes through the turbines, which have many rows of fanlike metal blades. The spinning blades turn a generator that produces electricity.
Recently, plant engineers identified an indication of crack development on one blade of the Unit 2 turbine where modifications have not yet been completed. “The plan we are developing will meet our primary objectives of safe and reliable long-term operation,” said Timothy S. Rausch, Talen Energy senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer. “This outage will enable us to replace the blade safely and efficiently so we remain prepared to meet the regional demand for electricity, especially during the peak winter season.”
The plant is continuing a multi-year, turbine blade modification and replacement project. Susquehanna has determined root cause of the issue and is expected to complete the final, permanent modifications on the Unit 2 turbine during the 2017 refueling outage and on the Unit 1 turbine during the 2018 refueling outage, the company said.
There are no current indications of issues with Unit 1 turbine blades that have yet to be modified. The other turbines on Unit 1 and Unit 2 have previously completed the permanent modifications to address the cracking issue.
Talen Energy will inform the public when Unit 2 is shut down to begin the planned outage, as well as when it returns to service.
Susquehanna Units 1 and 2 are both boiling water reactors (BWRs). Each has a summer generating capacity of roughly 1,200 MW.
Talen is in the process of having its public stock being bought out by investor Riverstone Holdings LLC.
The Susquehanna plant, located about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by Susquehanna Nuclear, LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by Susquehanna Nuclear. Susquehanna Nuclear, LLC is one of Talen Energy Corporation’s generating affiliates.