Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…