Shaw Looks To Uprates To Create $25 Billion Market In The U.S.

Exelon and Entergy have announced plans to uprate some of their reactors. Shaw already provides fleet-wide maintenance services to these companies

 - By Linton Levy -

During a presentation of Shaw financials, Shaw's chairman Jim Bernhard said that 37 reactors out of the USA's total of 104 had already completed or were in the process of implementing power uprates. According to Bernhard, Shaw had participated in more than half of these uprates, helping to add over 3000 MWe to the grid - about the equivalent of three new reactors.
According to Bernhard, this leaves at least 67 U.S. reactors that could potentially be uprated. With the average cost of uprating a unit at $250-500 million, he put the value of this potential market at around $25 billion. Shaw noted that both Exelon and Entergy have announced plans to uprate some of their reactors. Shaw already provides fleet-wide maintenance services to these companies. 

Exelon runs the largest nuclear fleet in the U.S. and the third largest fleet in the world. The company's 10 plants and 17 reactors - currently represent some 20% of the U.S. nuclear industry's power capacity.

In June 2009, Exelon launched a series of power uprates at its reactors, which in total will add between 1300 and 1500 MWe of additional generating capacity by 2017. According to Shaw, the total cost of these uprates will be in the region of $3.5 billion, making them more economic and far less risky than a new nuclear build project of the same capacity.

Charles "Chip" Pardee is the President and Chief Nuclear Officer, Exelon Nuclear. He leads Exelon Nuclear’s 17 generating units, which produced a record of 132.3 million net megawatt-hours of electricity in 2007.  The fleet also achieved an average capacity factor of 94.5 percent, the seventh year in a row the capacity factor was more than 92 percent.
Uprates are underway at the company's Quad Cities, Dresden and LaSalle plants in Illinois, as well as the Limerick and Peach Bottom plans in Pennsylvania. These uprates are expected to account for almost one-quarter of the new generating capacity. Additional uprate projects at nine other Exelon plants, beginning this year, will add the remainder of the new capacity by 2017.  Uprates and upgrades over the past ten years have already added some 1100 MWe of additional capacity at Exelon's plants, the company said.
Shaw also says that Entergy plans to increase the capacity of its 1297 MWe Grand Gulf nuclear power plant in Mississippi by over than 13%. This would make Grand Gulf the largest existing single-unit nuclear reactor in the U.S.
According to the NRC a survey of reactor licensees last year found that some 40 applications are likely to be submitted to the NRC over the next three years for power uprates totalling about 2075 MWe of new generating capacity. This year, 16 more applications are expected for uprates that will add a total of some 965 MWe of capacity. A further 17 are expected next year, representing an additional 548 MWe, followed by seven applications in 2012, adding 562 MWe. This expected total comes to 4150 MWe of new nuclear capacity in the U.S. - almost as much as three or four new reactors could provide.

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