March 14 U.S. power company Exelon Corp,
the nation's biggest nuclear operator, said modifications at its
nuclear fleet, called uprates, could add more than 1,100
megawatts (MW) of carbon free energy by 2021.
This week, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
accepted the company's application to increase the output at its
Peach Bottom nuclear plant in Pennsylvania by 12.4 percent.
The two reactors at Peach Bottom currently have a capacity
of 1,122 MW and the changes would add about 260 MW of capacity
to the plant, Exelon said.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.
The NRC said the standard review time for a so-called
extended power uprate (EPU) application is 18 months after the
agency formally accepts the application.
Exelon submitted the Peach Bottom application to the NRC in
September 2012. The NRC staff initially determined the
application was insufficient in certain respects and asked
Exelon for additional information. The company has now provided
Exelon over the past few years has sought to increase the
output of several reactors by a much smaller 1.6 percent,
including Byron, Braidwood, and LaSalle in Illinois and Limerick
in Pennsylvania, according to the NRC website.
The NRC in 2012 said it put the review of the Byron and
Braidwood on hold until Exelon provides more information.
In 2012, however, Exelon adjusted its uprate program -
delaying a planned uprate at Limerick - primarily due weak
market conditions, including weak natural gas and power prices
and the continued sluggish economy.
Exelon said it had not yet determined the uprate percentage
for Limerick but noted it would not exceed about 12 percent.
As of the end of 2012, Exelon said the program has delivered
an additional 310 MW.
The company said about 75 percent of its planned output
increases are either complete or are in the installation or
design and engineering phases. The remaining 25 percent, if and
when completed, would come from the uprate at Limerick currently
scheduled to begin in 2017.
The company does not release projected costs on plant
specific uprate projects.