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Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 breaks consecutive run record of 471 days

by on February 13, 2013
D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant’s Unit 1 (Unit 1 turbine shown above) has broken the previous record for continuous run of 471 consecutive days.

(Story by Bill Schalk)

BRIDGMAN, Mich. — 471 days is a long time.

A typical person could grow their hair about eight inches in that amount of time. Your cute little Labrador puppy could become a 75-pound dog in 471 days. Back in 1930, it took only 430 days to build the Empire State Building. So while a lot can happen in 1.29 years, what hasn’t happened at D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant is for Unit 1 to stop generating electricity.

Cook Unit 1 went online following its 23rd refueling outage on Oct. 26, 2011, at 1:26 a.m. and the plant has been generating roughly 1,100 megawatts of electricity ever since. On Friday, Feb. 8, the unit broke the previous consecutive run record of 471 days. The old record was set back during fuel cycle 13 which ended in 1994.

“A run record like this means that the entire Cook team had the right operational focus as well as performed the right work with quality during the previous refueling outage,” said Larry Weber, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “These are challenging and changing times for electric utilities, and we want all of AEP to know that they can count on Cook to be there for them every day.”

The next refueling outage for Unit 1 is scheduled to begin March 27, so the plant’s employees and management now set their sights on continuing to stay online until that date, which would make the new record 519 days. This is known in the nuclear industry as a breaker-to-breaker run, as the unit’s output breakers remained connected to the transmission grid for the entire 18-month fuel cycle. Cook Unit 2 ran breaker-to-breaker during the previous fuel cycle that ended in March of last year.

Wiith regard to Cook’s success, AEP President and Chief Executive Officer Nick Akins remarked, “Congratulations to the Cook team for breaking the Unit 1 run record! I know a long run like that takes tremendous site-wide operational and safety focus. We all know the attention to detail that is required to manage the hundreds of tasks each day that ensure the safe and reliable operation of the Cook Plant is intense. Thanks for your efforts. Keep it up, and good luck with your upcoming outage.”

The Cook pressurized water reactors are on an 18-month fueling cycle that includes approximately 30 days for the refueling outage. The outages of the two units are timed and spaced so that they occur in either spring or fall, and never at the same time. Spring and fall outages mean the low fuel-cost nuclear reactors will be available in the higher demand summer and winter seasons. Unit 2 is scheduled for refueling this fall, so 2013 will be a dual-outage year at Cook, which only happens every three years.

So it’s now 472 days and counting. With the refueling outage coming up, Cook workers may want to celebrate by getting a haircut or taking the dog for a walk if it’s really been that long since the last time.

From → News From AEP

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