Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Federal regulators reject request to extend nuke plant outage

Federal regulators rejected a request Tuesday to keep unit two at the St. Lucie nuclear offline until after the public reviews the latest inspection reports of the reactor's damaged steam generator tubes.

There was no discussion during the brief voice vote by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The commission will continue to collect information through the end of the month to determine whether there will be public hearings about the tube wear issue.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy asked the commission to keep St. Lucie Unit 2 offline after the Tampa Bay Times reported unusual tube wear in the reactor's steam generators. The steam generators were replaced in 2007, and the tubes show more wear indications in more tubes than any active similar plant in the country.

Florida Power & Light, which owns and operates St. Lucie Unit 2, took the plant offline in March for refueling and inspection.

FPL and the commission insist the plant is safe. But the tube wear problem could shorten the life of the steam generators. The utility spent about $750 million replacing the steam generators and upgrading the plant to increase it electricity output through the end of its license in 2043.

With the tube wear issue, the steam generators might not make it to the end of the license as planned.

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