STP Unit 2 completes breaker-to-breaker run
On Friday, Oct. 4, STP’s Unit 2 started a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage, marking the completion of its fourth consecutive breaker-to-breaker operational run. STP’s two units combined to safely produce more than 20.7 million megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity in 2018.
This is STP’s 41st refueling outage since beginning commercial operation in 1988. STP’s two units are on an 18-month refueling cycle. During its 18-month operational cycle, STP’s Unit 2 operated at a capability factor, which is a measure of reliability, at an exceptional 99.9 percent.
“We are proud of this accomplishment and the team effort that it took to achieve this level of performance, as well as our track record of safely and consistently producing energy for our state,” said Jim Connolly, Chief Nuclear Officer for STP Nuclear Operating Company. “We are committed to putting safety first and to making ongoing investments in our equipment to maintain this level of performance. Our success is a result of that commitment and the commitment of every member of our team.”
During the Unit 2 outage, about one-third of the reactor’s fuel assemblies will be replaced with new ones. In addition, thousands of maintenance activities are scheduled to enhance equipment reliability and numerous plant systems and components will be tested and inspected.
STP maintains an ongoing extensive program in preventive and corrective maintenance, equipment replacement, and testing and monitoring. In addition, STP is subject to an ongoing, rigorous program of oversight and inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC has two full-time inspectors onsite, as well as supplemental inspectors from the NRC’s Regional Headquarters.
“We have completed significant planning and preparation ahead of this outage to ensure that we thoroughly inspect, test and complete a large scope of work,” said Connolly. “This work will set up Unit 2 for safe operations until its next scheduled refueling outage.”
Nearly 1000 outage contractors are onsite to assist during the refueling and maintenance outage. The majority of these contractors, who come from across the nation, have worked previous outages at STP. These contractors provide significant economic benefit to the local communities – hotels, restaurants and stores.
In terms of economic impact, STP is the largest employer in Matagorda County with approximately 1,200 direct employees. In addition, STP also supports approximately 3,500 jobs in other industries and accounts for $2.2 billion in annual economic output.
STP provides more than 25 percent of the carbon-free electricity produced in Texas. This equates to approximately 14 million metric tons of carbon avoided annually – equivalent to the emissions of three million cars.
STP is a recognized industry leader in operational performance. With a generating capacity of 2,700 megawatts, STP is one of the nation’s largest plants providing power to more than two million Texas homes each day.
STP schedules refueling outages in the spring and fall when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) electrical demand is lowest. The plant is managed by the STP Nuclear Operating Company and owned by NRG Energy, CPS Energy and Austin Energy. To learn more about STP, visit www.stpnoc.com.