SCANA says SC Summer reactor repair to add two weeks to outage

Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:24pm EST

* Small cracks found and fixed in reactor vessel head
    * SCANA says cracks pose no danger to public, plant safe
    * Unit seen back in first or second week of December

    Nov 16 (Reuters) - South Carolina power company SCANA Corp
 found and repaired some small cracks on the reactor
vessel at the 966-megawatt (MW) Summer nuclear power plant in
South Carolina, which shut in mid-October for planned refueling.
    Fixing the cracks may have added about two weeks to the
outage, SCANA spokesman Eric Boomhower told Reuters on Friday.
He said the outage had originally been scheduled to last about
40 days.
    Based on that schedule, the plant should exit the outage in
the first or second week of December.
    "The plant is absolutely safe and poses no safety concern to
the public," Boomhower said, noting the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC), which regulates the nuclear power industry,
was fully aware of the work SCANA is doing.
    Boomhower said the cracks were very small - basically
undetectable to the naked eye. He said the company used
ultrasonic testing and other electronic means to find the
cracks.
    During the refueling outage, the company performed a planned
inspection of the reactor vessel head to find and, if needed,
fix minor defects before they become bigger problems, Stephen
Byrne, chief operating officer and president, Generation and
Transmission, at SCANA's South Carolina Electric & Gas Co
utility, said during the company's earnings call on Nov. 6.
    The reactor vessel head contains 66 penetrations which are
mostly used to maneuver control rods in the reactor, Byrne said,
adding that the company found that wells for four of those
penetrations needed repairs.
    Byrne said an extensive robotic inspection of the reactor
vessel showed there was no leakage from these areas as a result
of the condition of the wells.
    Byrne said workers from Westinghouse, a nuclear engineering
firm that supplied the Summer reactor, were helping SCANA fix
the vessel. He said nuclear operators have successfully made
these repairs at other nuclear facilities.
    Westinghouse is majority-owned by Japanese multinational
Toshiba Corp.
    SCANA shut the Summer plant on Oct. 12 for a refueling
outage to replace a third of the fuel in the reactor following
an 18-month operating cycle.
    
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PLANT BACKGROUND/TIMELINE  
STATE:      South Carolina   
COUNTY:     Fairfield   
TOWN:       Jenkinsville, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of   
            Columbia, the state capital   
OPERATOR:   SCE&G   
OWNERS:     - SCE&G (66.67 percent)   
            - Santee Cooper (33.33 percent)   
CAPACITY:   966 MW   
UNIT:       Westinghouse pressurized water reactor     
FUEL:       Nuclear   
DISPATCH:   Baseload   
COST:       $1.3 billion   
   
TIMELINE:   
1971 -      SCE&G announces plans to build the plant   
1984 -      Unit begins commercial operation   
2004 -      NRC grants 20-year license extension for Unit 1   
2008 -      SCE&G and Santee Cooper file with NRC to build   
            two new Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at Summer site.
            SCE&G says its 55 percent stake in the project would
            cost about $4.5 billion. Santee Cooper will own the 
 
            other 45 percent   
2008 -      SCE&G signs an engineering, procurement and   
            construction contract with Westinghouse, which is
            majority owned by Toshiba Corp, and Shaw   
            Group for the new reactors   
2010-2012 - Santee Cooper looks for partners for its share of
            the new reactors - Santee Cooper has signed letters
            of intent with Ohio's American Municipal Power and
            Mississippi's South Mississippi Electric Power
            Association to buy stakes in the reactor  
2012 -      NRC issues construction and operating license for
            new reactors 
2017 -      First new reactor to enter service   
2018 -      Second new reactor to enter service   
2042 -      Unit 1 license to expire
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