Exelon Generation has applied to increase its power output at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, federal officials announced this week.
The application seeks to increase power by 12.4 percent in both of the plant's nuclear reactors, said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Exelon submitted the application at the end of September, and the NRC posted the application Tuesday.
The NRC is presently reviewing the application, which can take two years, Sheehan said.
"We want to make sure it (the power uprate) is done safely, so it takes a great deal of review," he said.
A 12.4 percent power upgrade is the largest Exelon has applied for at Peach Bottom, Sheehan said.
In 1994, the Delta-based plant's Unit 2 reactor was approved for a 5 percent power uprate. A year later, its Unit 3 reactor was approved for a 5 percent increase. And, in 2002, both units were approved for a 1.6 percent boost, he said.
"Those were much smaller in nature than the 12.4 percent uprate Exelon is seeking now. A power upgrade of this magnitude will require modifications at the plant," Sheehan said.
Though the plant has a solid infrastructure in place, Peach Bottom may need new pumps, turbines, a highly-enriched uranium fuel and other equipment, he said.
The NRC has been reviewing power uprate applications since the late 1970s. More than 140 power uprates have been approved, adding more than 6,000 megawatts combined, Sheehan said.
To put that in perspective, each of Peach Bottom's units produces 1,000 megawatts. The approved upgrades have been the equivalent of adding six new reactors, he said.
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