The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved Duke Energy’s February 2020 request to increase the capacity of the Oconee nuclear power plant’s three reactors by approximately 1.64 percent, the agency announced February 3. The agency added that the boost to the units’ heat output could be accomplished largely through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow. The license amendments authorizing the uprates were issued to Duke on January 26.
Specifics: Located in Seneca, S.C., Oconee houses three two-loop pressurized water reactors. The power uprates will raise the generating capacities of the units as follows:
- Unit 1, from about 909 MWe to 923 MWe
- Unit 2, from about 919 MWe to 933 MWe
- Unit 3, from about 922 MWe to 936 MWe
Duke intends to implement each reactor’s uprate in a phased approach based on refueling schedules, the NRC said.
Safety focus: According to the agency announcement, the safety evaluation of the proposed uprate paid particular attention to several areas, including the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.
The NRC published a notice in the Federal Register regarding the Oconee power uprate application in June 2020, inviting the public to comment or request a hearing.
Commercial ops: Unit 1 entered commercial operation in July 1973, Unit 2 in September 1974, and Unit 3 in December 1974.