Friday, October 02, 2009

Bay City Cannonball Sets New Record

Two million electricity consumers in Texas and a neighborhood populated by eagles, falcons, hawks, and alligators may have heard a distant jingle, rumor, or roar Wednesday when STP unit 1 coasted into the station after an 18-month dash, its fifth consecutive "breaker-to-breaker production run," a new record for an American nuclear power reactor.

As she sped along in safety, her managers announced, the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station produced more energy the past five years than any other two-unit U.S. nuclear plant while holding her position in the top 10 percent of all U.S. nuclear stations for employee safety.

One more record for a nuclear plant already holding more honors, records, and awards than any other in the country.

Please join us in a well-deserved Friday toast to the team owners, Austin Energy, CPS Energy, and NRG Texas, and the entire crew aboard the Bay City.


perdajz said...

Nice job, Bay City.

Anyone out there an expert on the performance of coal or natgas power plants? Can they routinely operate at 100% capacity for 18 months at a time? I know the capacity factors for coal and natgas are lower, but this is sometimes for economic reasons, especially with natgas. Is it even at all possible for coal or natgas to compare with nukes on a performance metric like this? Or is my question just rhetorical?

KenG said...

Coal plants have improved in reliability in recent years and now average about 75% capacity factor. Coal plants have different maintenance requirements and schedules but it is generally not cost effective to build them with an aim at 100% capacity factor due to the high fuel cost relative to capital cost. A fossil fuel plant outage is not so expensive since the fuel cost is significant and is not incurred during outages.