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

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…