The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) request to increase the power generation capacity of the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Athens, Alabama.
TVA requested an increase of 14.3% for the plant’s Unit One, Unit Two, and Unit Three.
With the approval, the company will be able to increase the capacity of each reactor’s maximum power level from 3,458MWt to 3,952MWt. This will represent a gross output increase of around 155MWe each.
NRC said in a statement: “The NRC staff determined that TVA could safely increase the reactors’ output primarily by upgrading certain plant systems and components. NRC staff also reviewed TVA’s evaluations showing the plant’s design can handle the increased power level.
“The NRC’s safety evaluation of the proposed uprate focused on areas such as the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, and accident evaluations.
“For added confidence in the analysis, the NRC staff also conducted independent confirmatory calculations and audits of selected areas.”
TVA is planning to begin work on Unit Three in the 2018 March-May refuelling outage, while Unit One will be upgraded during the 2018 September-November refuelling outage.
Unit Three will be extended during the 2019 March-May refuelling outage period.
Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant currently features three boiling-water reactors capable of generating more than 1,000MW. Its units can produce a combined output of 3,400MW, which is enough to power almost two million homes.