Powering up: Nuclear plant to boost output
Orange County Register (2012-01-05) Pat Brennan
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More Info: Energy Policy
, Nuclear Energy
, Shut San Onofre
Massive new turbines expected to increase electrical output from the San Onofre nuclear plant
will be installed starting this month, part of a $280 million upgrade for the plant’s two reactors.
The installation will begin with the unit 2 reactor, to be powered down for a maintenance outage. The plant’s other reactor, unit 3, will get its new turbine in the fall.
Together, the new turbines will deliver enough increased output to power 31,000 typical homes.
The latest upgrade follows a far more massive project completed in 2010: replacement of four 640-ton steam generators
, two for each reactor, at a cost of $674 million.
The old steam generator parts were shipped to a nuclear disposal site in Utah
aboard a 192-wheeled vehicle in a series of cross-country trips beginning last year, and should be finished this year.
The new generators raised the amount of steam energy produced in the reactors.
The steam is used to turn the turbines and generate electricity; the new turbines, with an aerodynamic redesign based on computer modeling, can convert more of the air pressure from the steam into motion, but without an increase in the size of the turbine blades, said Gil Alexander, spokesman for plant operator Southern California Edison
Each reactor upgrade will result in about 1,700 temporary jobs, Alexander said, and the entire project will mean a cost increase of about 0.5 percent of present rates for customers.