NPPD scraps Cooper nuclear plant uprate

12 August 2013

The Nebraska Public Power District has decided not to proceed with an 18% extended power uprate at its 800 MW Cooper Nuclear Station due to escalating costs.

NPPD had been conducing a detailed feasibility study for the uprate project since the end of 2012, but decided on 9 August not to move forward after a review of the project costs and schedule risks.

"In light of other utilities' inability to come in on time and on budget with similar projects, I have significant concerns how that would impact our Nebraska customers," said NPPD president and CEO Pat Pope.

NPPD most likely would not see sufficient returns to justify the estimated $409 million project cost, which has risen by $120 million since an earlier estimate, according to Pope.

In addition to cost, other contributing factors to the Board's decision included unresolved technical issues with regulators at similar nuclear facilities, low natural gas prices, NPPD's existing surplus generating capacity, and its upcoming participation in the Southwest Power Pool's Integrated Marketplace next spring.

The uprate, which was slated for completion in 2018, would have added 146 MW of electrical power to the single-unit boiling water reactor near Brownville, Nebraska.

NPPD will continue to invest in the plant and has already ordered a new high-pressure steam turbine that will be installed regardless of a decision for an uprate. Other equipment and systems identified as part of the EPU will also be reviewed to determine if they are needed to conduct safe operations without an EPU.

Cooper began operation in 1974 and has been granted an operating licence to operate through 2034.


Photo: The single-unit Cooper nuclear station in Nebraska (Source NPPD)

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