Planned Nuclear Plant Outages Ratchet Up as Refueling Season Approaches
Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes the promise of nuclear power plant refueling outages. Refueling outages in the U.S. typically peak in the spring and fall, when energy demand is lower.
Industrial Info is tracking 40 nuclear refueling maintenance outage projects, worth $838 million, that are slated for completion this year in the U.S. Nearly half of those projects, worth $404.5 million, are expected to be completed in the next three months. May is the peak month for planned outage completions, followed by November.
Nuclear reactors are usually refueled every 18 months to two years, during which a third of their nuclear fuel bundle is replaced, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). Plant operators typically take advantage of the downtime by scheduling upgrades, repairs, and other maintenance work while the nuclear reactor is offline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Each outage can require in hundreds of workers. Average planned outage times in 2020 were 33 days as of September, the EIA said.
Planned refueling outage projects in the U.S. this year range in value from $12 million to $27 million. Illinois leads in project activity, with five outages worth $103 million, followed by South Carolina, with four outages worth $84 million. By company, Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) (Chicago, Illinois) leads, with 10 planned outages worth $191 million.
Some of the refueling outages planned for the next three months are:
- NRG Energy Incorporated's (NYSE:NRG) (Princeton, New Jersey)1,280-megawatt (MW) Nuclear Unit 1 at the South Texas Project Nuclear Generating Station in Bay City, Texas. The 32-day outage is planned for completion in April. Maintenance-related work during the refueling includes vessel and reactor head inspections, disassembly and reassembly of the reactor, inspection and repairs to the steam turbine and several other activities. The South Texas Project Nuclear Generating Station's reactor was taken offline temporarily in March due to a lack of power at two feed pumps, caused by the extreme winter cold that hit the state. The weather-related offline event is not expected to affect the timing of the refueling outage. For more information, see Industrial Info's project report.
- Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated's (NYSE:PEG) (Newark, New Jersey) 1,210-MW Nuclear Unit 01 at the Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Hancocks Bridge, New Jersey. The 26-day outage is planned to kick off in April, with completion in May; see project report.
- Dominion Energy Incorporated's (NYSE:D) (Richmond, Virginia) 920-MW Nuclear Unit 01 at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Mineral, Virginia. The 30-day outage is slated for completion in April; see project report.
- Evergy Incorporated's (NYSE:EVRG) (Kansas City, Missouri) 1,160-MW Nuclear Unit 01 at the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Station in Burlington, Kansas. Completion of the 40-day outage is expected in May; see project report.
- American Electric Power Company Incorporated's (NYSE:AEP) (Columbus, Ohio) 1,077-MW Nuclear Unit 02 at the Donald C Cook Nuclear Power Station in Bridgman, Michigan. The 30-day outage is planned to begin in April, with completion in May; see project report.
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