The NRC’s timing couldn’t be worse.
As I told you earlier today, the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania reported that the Emergency Service Water system that provides cooling water in the event of an accident was inoperable. The cause of that malfunction is still under investigation.
Then, this afternoon, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced the approval of Peach Bottom’s uprate application, a request to begin operating the reactors at more than their current license limits.
According to the NRC’s press release:
The NRC’s safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power uprate focused on several areas, such as the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes. For added confidence in the analysis, the NRC staff also conducted independent confirmatory calculations and audits of selected areas.
Peach bottom will now be allowed to increase the output of the reactors by 12.4 per cent, after some system changes are made in the next refueling outage for each of the units. The uprate goes into effect after Unit 2’s refueling outage in the Fall of 2014. Unit 3 will uprate after its Fall 2015 outage.
Provided they can fix that pesky little Emergency Service Water system, that is….