Bechtel performed extended power uprates at Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, a half hour south of Miami on Biscayne Bay, as well as at its sister facility, St. Lucie, up the Atlantic coast. The project entailed working on a total of four nuclear generating units, two at each plant.
We performed major construction activities while one unit―and sometimes both―were in operation. This regimen required highly detailed and complex planning, and much cooperation with Florida Power & Light, to meet tight schedules while maintaining safety and quality standards.
The uprates yielded 30 percent more power than originally anticipated, adding more than 522 megawatts of additional capacity―enough to power more than 300,000 Florida households annually.
Bechtel is a leader in extended power uprate projects, having completed seven since 2009. In addition to the work on the Florida units, the company also completed extended power uprate work at Florida Power & Light's Point Beach nuclear facility in Wisconsin in 2011.
Power Engineering magazine awarded Bechtel and Florida Power & Light its 2013 Nuclear Project of the Year Award. The companies won for the extended power uprates at the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants, both on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The combined work at these plants represents one of the largest uprate projects performed in the history of U.S. commercial nuclear plants.
What’s an “uprate”?
It’s modifying an existing plant and associated licenses to generate additional electricity instead of building a new plant. Bechtel’s work for Florida Power & Light was an extended power uprate, by which we increased the enrichment of the nuclear fuel and then modified equipment to use the additional power.
Typical of extended uprates, including those at Turkey Point and St. Lucie, we installed such new equipment as high-pressure turbines, low-pressure turbines, generator rotors, moisture separator reheaters, condensers, and startup transformers. All told, we made more than 120 major modifications to the units.
Such improvements not only boost output, they increase efficiency, reliability, and safety.