PSEG Nuclear can increase the power generating capacity of Hope Creek Generating Station by 1.6 percent, federal officials said.
PSEG can safely increase the reactor’s power output primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow, said officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
NRC staff also reviewed the company’s evaluations, showing the plant’s design can accommodate the increased power level. Hope Creek is in Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey.
The NRC’s safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power uprate focused on several areas, including 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 power uprate for Hope Creek, located approximately 18 miles southeast of Wilmington, DE, will increase the reactor’s output from approximately 3,840 to 3,902 megawatts thermal. PSEG Nuclear intends to implement the uprate within six months of NRC’s issuance of the action.
Meanwhile, Hope Creek Generating Station was safely taken offline in the middle of April for a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. The operation marked a new record for the plant’s longest continuous production run of 517 consecutive days online.
For the first time in its 32-year operating history, Hope Creek also achieved what is known as a “breaker-to-breaker” run, meaning the station had been operating nonstop since reconnecting to the regional power grid on November 11, 2016, following its previous refueling outage. Operating nonstop 24/7 throughout 2017, Hope Creek set a new generation record last year when it produced 10.6 million megawatt hours of electricity.
While the plant is offline, employees will replace a quarter of the reactor’s secure, onsite fuel and perform nearly 14,000 inspections, tests and maintenance activities. PSEG Nuclear also is investing $41 million in capital equipment upgrades to improve reliability and ensure safe operations.
Hope Creek is a single unit boiling water reactor with a net generation of 1,218 megawatts, which provides enough electricity for a million homes. The plant is on a 740-acre site in Salem County, New Jersey, alongside PSEG Nuclear’s Salem Unit 1 & Unit 2 Generating Station. Collectively, the three plants make up the second largest commercial nuclear power generating facility in the United States. They supply 40 percent of New Jersey’s energy.