NB Power issued the following update on the Point Lepreau Generating Station last week:
Operational highlights for July
On July 1, reactor power was increased from 90 per cent to its current level of 95 per cent, putting approximately 622 megawatts of clean, low-cost energy on the grid. During July, the Point Lepreau Generating Station produced 48 per cent of the total net generation from NB Power generating stations.
The net capacity factor for July was 92.9 per cent, just below the target of 93 per cent. Capacity factor is the megawatt output of a generating station compared to the maximum that could be produced. Several factors influenced this figure in July, including regular maintenance on condensers that reduced station output.
Additionally, every summer, water temperatures in the Bay of Fundy increase by a few degrees, and this reduces electrical output by four to five megawatts as not as much energy can be extracted from the steam due to the warmer bay water.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission public meeting set for Aug. 21
On Aug. 21, employees from the Point Lepreau Generating Station will participate in a public Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission meeting in Ottawa where the 2012 annual commission’s staff report on the safety performance of Canadian nuclear power plants will be discussed.
The draft report, released in June, summarizes the commission’s staff's assessment of how well licensees are meeting regulatory safety requirements. The station's overall assessment by the commission was rated as satisfactory, with the highest rating of fully satisfactory declared for conventional health and safety performance. The rating positioned the station at the industry average level for all aspects of performance addressed by the commission for 2012. The commission’s report is online at http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/pubs_catalogue/uploads/2012-CNSC-NPP-Safety-Report.pdf.
"We are particularly pleased with this report from our regulator given that 2012 was the year we completed our refurbishment project, achieved a licence renewal from Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and successfully returned the station to commercial operation," said Sean Granville, site vice-president and chief nuclear officer for NB Power. "We are also pleased with the fully satisfactory rating of our conventional health and safety performance as this is a reflection of the strong emphasis NB Power places on industrial and workplace safety culture throughout the organization."
In this report, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission also commented on two licensing and regulatory issues of importance to the Point Lepreau Generating Station. The site-specific seismic hazard assessment update is on track for a review this month with the commission, while design updates required in response to events at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in Japan in 2011 are ongoing with all the targeted updates to be completed by 2015.
Upcoming transport of turbine rotors
In September, two new turbine rotors, weighing about 130 tonnes each, will be transported from Saint John Harbour to the Point Lepreau Generating Station. Siemens, the manufacturer, delivered the rotors to Saint John earlier this year and will take the lead role in transporting them to the station. The new rotors will replace two of the three current rotors deemed acceptable for shorter-term use after they were damaged in transit in 2008. This equipment will be stored at the station until they can be replaced during a future planned maintenance outage.
Siemens is being assisted by NB Power, transportation experts, emergency response organizations and local and provincial government agencies to ensure a safe and event-free delivery that minimizes impacts to the public.
The rotors will be transported using a 19-axle trailer specially designed for transporting heavy loads. This equipment was brought to New Brunswick for this move, as there are only two of these devices in North America. As it will be travelling at approximately 15 to 20 kilometres per hour for most of the 50-kilometre journey, there will be police escorts for the duration of the trip. A replacement truck and specialized mechanics will be part of the convoy. It will take about six hours to move each rotor from start to finish.
Tentatively, the dates for movement are Sunday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 15, starting at 6 a.m. These dates are weather-permitting as high winds, heavy rain, and/or poor visibility need to be avoided. There will be additional details provided to the public by ways of radio and newspaper advertisements once the dates are confirmed. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will erect signs to alert motorists of the activities.
Maintenance outage to begin Oct. 18
In July, NB Power indicated plans for a possible outage to allow for repairs to the plant's fourth steam valve which transports steam from the steam generator to the plant turbine. This outage is now scheduled to begin Oct. 18.
“The plant continues to operate safely with three steam valves, as it was designed to do," said Granville. "Taking an outage in October will allow us to return to 100 per cent power and maximize the output of the station during the winter when New Brunswickers need it most. October is the most cost-effective time of year for this work to take place as it falls between our peak export summer market in the United States and the winter home heating season in New Brunswick. This outage will not have an impact on rates to NB Power customers as we budget and plan for these types of equipment issues that are not uncommon after an extended outage."
About the Point Lepreau Generating Station
The Point Lepreau Generating Station was declared commercially operational in November 2012 after undergoing a major overhaul. The 660-megawatt nuclear generating station is a base load contributor to the New Brunswick electrical grid, producing enough electricity to power more than 333,000 homes per year for the next 25 to 30 years. The facility is a foundational piece of the province’s domestic energy supply and its export sales, and provides rate stability and the financial flexibility to begin reducing debt. The refurbishment of the station once again positions NB Power as a utility with a world-class nuclear facility and a highly skilled workforce.
The Point Lepreau Generating Station is a major component of the generating assets that will contribute to the provincial goal of having as much as 75 per cent of the electricity used in New Brunswick coming from clean, renewable or non-emitting sources by 2020.