Implementation of advanced PRIME fuel features

October 17, 2023, 9:42AMNuclear NewsVictoria Fitz, Bradley Balltrip, Matthew Leonard, Matthew Lynch, and Raymond Flanery

Operating costs for nuclear units have grown significantly since the start of the commercial nuclear power industry. For nuclear power generation to remain competitive, process efficiencies and innovations will need to be introduced. The challenge for any change is to improve the safe operation of the nuclear unit. An area of opportunity to reduce operating costs while improving operational safety is through upgraded fuel design and manufacturing. At Southern Nuclear, the pressurized water reactor fuel engineering team worked with Westinghouse to implement the PRIME fuel features, where simple improvements would yield safer operation and long-term cost-savings due to a more robust fuel design. Implementing the PRIME fuel ensures that the operator’s burden from fuel performance is minimized while keeping the reactor unit in a safe operating condition.

Power uprate approved for Millstone’s Unit 3

November 24, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Millstone nuclear power plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted Dominion Energy’s request for an increase in the generating capacity of Millstone-3. The Richmond, Va.–based utility had applied for the power uprate last November, requesting an increase of approximately 1.6 percent.

NRC staff determined that Dominion could safely increase the reactor’s heat output, primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow, according to a November 18 press release. The NRC’s safety evaluation focused on 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.

NRC okays power uprate for Farley units

October 22, 2020, 9:29AMNuclear News

The Joseph M. Farley nuclear plant, in Columbia, Ala.

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.

Southern CEO tests positive for COVID-19

July 14, 2020, 7:51AMNuclear News


Tom Fanning, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company, on July 10 announced via Twitter that he has tested positive for COVID-19. One of the largest U.S. utilities, Southern is the parent company of the owners and operators of the Farley, Hatch, and Vogtle nuclear power plants.

Also on July 10, the state of Georgia obliterated its record for the number of COVID-19 cases in a single day, reporting 4,484 new cases, topping the previous record by more than 1,000. Fanning lives in Atlanta.