US regulator approves St. Lucie uprate

10 July 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a request by Florida Power & Light (FP&L) to increase the power level of St. Lucie Unit 1 by 12%. The power uprate for the pressurized-water reactor, located approximately 10 miles southeast of Ft. Pierce, Florida, will increase the unit’s thermal power level from 2700 to 3020 MWt.

The uprate translates into an increase in the plant’s electricity generating capacity of 15%, from approximately 853 to 982 MWe.

The NRC staff’s careful evaluation determined that FP&L could safely increase the reactors’ power output primarily by carrying out significant upgrades to several plant systems and components, including the feedwater pumps and the high-pressure turbine.

NRC said in a 9 July statement that as part of its evaluation, NRC staff reviewed the company’s analysis showing the plant’s design can accommodate the increased power level.

The NRC’s safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power uprate focused on several areas, including the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.

FP&L intends to implement the uprate in the next few months, according to NRC.

In June, NRC approve similar large uprates at FP&L's Turkey Point units 3&4, also in Florida.

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