The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved Southern Nuclear Operating Company’s request to increase the capacity of the two Farley reactors by approximately 1.7 percent. The company applied for the requisite operating license amendments on October 30 of last year. The NRC issued the amendments on October 9.
Located in Columbia, Ala., the Farley plant houses two three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 was connected to the grid in 1977, and Unit 2 came on line in 1981.
According to an NRC press release on October 21, NRC staff determined that Southern Nuclear could safely increase both reactors’ heat output, primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow. Southern Nuclear is also improving some plant systems not regulated by the NRC to more efficiently convert the increased reactor output to electricity.
Powering up: The uprates will increase Unit 1’s generating capacity from approximately 910 MWe to 944 MWe, and Unit 2’s generating capacity from about 910 MWe to 953 MWe. The NRC said that Southern Nuclear intends to implement Farley-1’s uprate within 180 days of completing the reactor’s spring 2021 refueling outage and Farley-2’s uprate within 180 days of completing the reactor’s fall 2020 outage.
In February, the NRC published a notice in the Federal Register on the Farley power uprate application, providing the public an opportunity to comment or request a hearing. The agency’s evaluation of the uprate is available here.