With equipment and system upgrades completed during the recent scheduled refueling and maintenance outage, Unit 1 at PPL Corporation's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., is now the largest Boiling Water Reactor in terms of thermal power and generating capacity in the United States, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"PPL continues to invest in the future of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant with upgrades that increase the amount of electricity the plant can safely generate," said Jeff Helsel, Susquehanna plant manager.
When operating at 100 percent power, Susquehanna's Unit 1 has a capacity of 3,952 megawatts thermal (a measure of the heat produced in the reactor) and about 1,300 megawatts electrical (a measure of the electricity produced by the generator).
PPL owns 90 percent of the electricity generated by the Susquehanna plant. Allegheny Electric Cooperative owns 10 percent.
Workers completed a number of equipment upgrades during the recent outage that enable Unit 1 to produce more steam and generate more electricity, including the installation of a new integrated digital control system for plant equipment and replacing turbines that power pumps that provide water to the reactor vessel.
The completion of upgrades during this year's Unit 1 outage continues a four-year project begun in 2008 to increase the amount of electricity the Susquehanna nuclear plant can safely and reliably generate. That project is expected to conclude in 2011 after further upgrades to Unit 2 are completed, at which point Unit 2 will have a similar capacity for thermal and electrical energy.
"The Susquehanna plant has a proven record of safe and reliable operation. Increasing its generating capacity is a cost-effective way to meet future energy demand from an existing source that emits no greenhouse gases," Helsel said.
There are two types of design for nuclear power plants in the United States. The Susquehanna plant consists of two Boiling Water Reactors. The other type of design is the Pressurized Water Reactor.
The Susquehanna plant, located in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.
PPL Susquehanna is one of PPL Corporation's generating facilities. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation controls or owns nearly 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom.