EM-53 Lessons Learned Bulletin - Commercial Nuclear Power Plant Uprate Modifications

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Publisher:  U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Engineering, Construction/Project Management, Strategic Planning, Training and Qualification

When a commercial power plant is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it is limited to a specific maximum power. This limit is based on the design and safety analyses of the reactor cores heat output and corresponding power level. Major modifications, or Extended Power Uprate projects are undertaken at some operating commercial nuclear power plants to increase their power output.

EPU projects at nuclear power plants deliver significant benefits to utilities and to the communities that receive the electricity output. These uprate projects increase power capacity from existing facilities and modernize the plant in a fraction of the time and at significantly less cost than having to build a new power plant. As of mid-2014, 154 NRC-approved power uprate projects have resulted in an increase of over 7,000 MWe (megawatts electric) which is equivalent to adding electricity generation from seven new nuclear power plants at a significantly less cost and in a relatively short period of time. Many of the lessons learned from these major construction modification projects can be applied to Department of Energy projects.

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