NPPD seeks uprate for Cooper nuclear plant

18 December 2012

The Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors has voted to seek an extended power uprate (EPU) for its Cooper Nuclear Station. The $243 million project would increase the capacity of the 800 megawatt nuclear plant by 146MW or 18% over the next six years.

A thorough analysis must now be conducted, and regulatory approvals must be obtained before the project can move forward. NPPD said it must seek Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval for a license amendment, as well as approval from the Nebraska Power Review Board.

While a final decision has not yet been made, NPPD envisages installing much of the new equipment during refuelling and maintenance outages scheduled for 2014, 2016 and 2018.

One of the key pieces of equipment to be replaced will be the plant’s high-pressure turbine. This was ordered in May 2011 due to the long, lead time in manufacturing, and is expected to be installed during the 2016 outage, according to NPPD.

The NPPD board has also approved two contracts with GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, LLC related to the uprate. The first, which covers engineering services to perform analyses and evaluation of the nuclear steam supply system in order to make the application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, comes at a cost of $30.5 million. The second contract, valued at an additional $14.2 million relates to the purchase of power range neutron monitoring system.

“The 146 extra megawatts will help NPPD meet the additional load requirements we expect to have as early as 2018,” NPPD president and CEO Pat Pope said.

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