Nuclear power plant operator plans to expand used fuel storage capacity

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE), on Sept. 17 said it plans to expand used nuclear fuel storage capacity at its two-unit, 1,800 MW Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa.

Under the plan, FENOC said above-ground, airtight steel and concrete canisters will be installed that provide cooling to used fuel assemblies through natural air circulation.  The canisters will be stored on a concrete pad within Beaver Valley's secured, protected area.  The storage system will be monitored by trained personnel and the NRC.

Since Beaver Valley began operation of Unit 1 in 1976 and Unit 2 in 1987, its used fuel assemblies have been stored in an indoor, steel-lined pool within the power station. About 40 percent of each unit's 157 fuel assemblies are replaced and then stored in the pool following each 18-month operating cycle.  FENOC said the fuel pool is expected to reach full storage capacity by 2015.

Initial installation will consist of six canisters and up to 47 additional canisters will be added as needed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved canister systems are in place at more than 60 other nuclear sites in the United States, including FENOC's single-unit, 900 MW Davis-Besse plant near Toledo, Ohio, and the single-unit, 1,260 MW Perry plant in Perry, Ohio.

Construction of the fuel storage system is slated to begin in fall 2012, and completion is planned for 2014.

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