BRIDGMAN, Mich., April 28, 2012 – Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 2 returned to service today at 4:47 p.m. following a refueling outage that began March 21. In addition to refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing work, the 38-day, 16-hour outage also included the installation of new main output transformers.
“Many thanks go to our talented employees as well as the local and regional workers who supplemented our workforce for a successful refueling,” said Larry Weber, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We appreciate the high quality work and commitment shown by the entire team and are pleased to continue to provide safe, reliable power to our communities.”
There is a separate 223-ton transformer for each of the three electric phases of the output of the Unit 2 Main Generator. The transformers increase the 26,000 volt generator output to 765,000 volts. Transmission of electricity is more efficient at higher voltage. The new transformers replace the original transformers that have been in service since the unit began operation in 1978.
Over the course of the outage, about 1,000 contracted workers worked alongside the regular 1,100-person plant staff. More than 12,000 maintenance, inspection and equipment modification job activities totaling more than 250,000 work-hours were performed during two daily 12-hour work shifts over the course of the outage.
Prior to the start of the refueling outage, the unit ran for 471 consecutive days since the previous refueling. This is known in the industry as a breaker-to-breaker run, as the unit’s output circuit breakers remained connected to the transmission grid for the entire 18-month fuel cycle.
Each year, the average 2,000 megawatt (MW) nuclear plant generates approximately $940 million in electricity sales (economic output) in the local community and more than $80 million in total labor income. Analyses of 23 U.S. nuclear plants representing 41 units show that every dollar spent by the average unit results in the creation of $1.04 in the local community, $1.18 in the state economy and $1.87 in the U.S. economy.
Cook produces the lowest fuel-cost electricity in the 38,000 megawatt American Electric Power generating fleet. At full capacity, the 1,030-net MW Unit 1 and 1,077-net MW Unit 2 combined produce enough electricity for more than one and one half million average homes.
Indiana Michigan Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP).