BERWICK, Pa., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Operators at the Susquehanna nuclear plant near Berwick, Pa., safely shut down the Unit 2 reactor on Tuesday (4/5) to begin a planned refueling and maintenance outage.
Since its last refueling outage in 2009, Unit 2 has safely and reliably generated about 19,355,000 megawatt-hours of electricity — enough to power about 1 million homes.
"The Susquehanna plant has an excellent operating record because of a dedicated, well-trained work force and comprehensive programs for maintaining, testing and upgrading equipment," said Timothy S. Rausch, PPL's senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. "The biennial refueling and maintenance outage is an example of the commitment PPL makes to operate the plant safely."
While the Unit 2 reactor is shut down, workers will replace about 40 percent of its uranium fuel and complete a number of equipment maintenance tasks and upgrades. The equipment maintenance to be performed will enhance reliability and help meet the demand for electricity to power the region's economy.
"During this outage we will conclude the four-year project begun in 2008 to increase the amount of electricity the Susquehanna nuclear plant can safely generate," Rausch said. "The project is a cost-effective way for PPL to increase electricity generation from existing sources that emit no greenhouse gases."
This year's upgrade work on Unit 2 includes installing an integrated digital control system for plant equipment and replacement of turbines that power pumps that provide water to the reactor vessel.
PPL schedules nuclear refueling and maintenance outages at this time of year, when electricity use decreases because of milder weather. Each unit at the Susquehanna plant is taken out of service for refueling and maintenance every 24 months.
Each outage brings more than 1,000 additional workers to the Luzerne County plant site to help with the many jobs involved in refueling and maintaining the unit, Rausch said.
"These extra workers are an economic boost for the local communities, as they shop, eat and stay at area stores, restaurants, hotels and short-term rental properties," Rausch said.
Unit 1 at the Susquehanna plant continues to operate at full power.
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 (NYSE: PPL) owns or controls about 19,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets, and delivers electricity and natural gas to about 10 million customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. More information is available at www.pplweb.com.
SOURCE PPL Susquehanna