Northeast Utilities says the Millstone 3 (1154 MWe PWR) in Connecticut, is ready to restart once the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gives the okay.
The company hopes the NRC, which has scheduled a series of meetings with the utility to inspect and review the plant, will vote by late March, a schedule that would allow restart by 1 April. Millstone 3, one of three idled plants at Millstone, has not generated electricity since it shut down in March 1996 because of safety concerns.
NU wants to restart unit 3 first because it is the largest and newest of three plants. Over the past year, workers reviewed all plant specifications and licensing documents and checked them against actual plant systems. They also tested and refurbished motor-operated valves and made more than 150 modifications to the plant. NU must still prove to the NRC that it has overhauled management and created an environment where workers can raise safety issues without fear of retaliation.
NRC Chairman Shirley Jackson was due to visit Millstone on 2 February for a first-hand look at the recovery effort.
Meanwhile, NU is aiming for a 1 June restart for Millstone 2, which has been idle even longer – since February 1996.
The prospects remain less certain for Millstone 1, which has been closed since November 1995. In December, Connecticut regulators removed Millstone 1 from the utility’s rate base, saying the extended shutdown with no end in sight made it useless to customers. Until it restarts, the utility will not be allowed to recover the plant’s amortised costs through rates.
The only other nuclear plant removed from a rate base was Three Mile Island 2.