Posted on March 28, 2013

San Luis Obispo County: PG&E Accomplishes Diablo Canyon Refueling in Record Time

AVILA BEACH – Unit 2 at PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant is running at full power again following a planned maintenance and refueling outage that began Feb. 3.

Diablo Canyon Power Plant

Diablo Canyon is now running at full power after the successful refueling outage of Unit 2. During the refueling outage, about 1,000 workers will be staying in or near San Luis Obispo, boosting the local economy.

The outage was among the most successful in Diablo Canyon’s history, given the depth and breadth of the work involved, the excellent employee safety performance, and its conclusion ahead of schedule.

Unit 1 continued to reliably generate electricity throughout the Unit 2 outage.

“Diablo Canyon Power Plant plays a major role in helping PG&E deliver some of the nation’s cleanest electricity to its customers,” said PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Ed Halpin. “The work performed during this and other planned outages supports our safe operation of the facility, and ensures a steady flow of affordable, reliable and carbon-free energy to more than 3 million Californians.”

About 30 projects were completed during the 48-day outage, in addition to standard maintenance. Crews performed about 12,000 outage-related activities, involving about 1 million hours of inspections, maintenance and equipment upgrades.

Major project work included replacing a portion of the Unit 2 reactor fuel, upgrading a crane system that moves key plant components, and installing a new digital Process Control System (PCS). The PCS monitors and controls various plant systems. The Diablo Canyon team set an industry record by completing the upgrade, which involved thousands of electrical connections, in less than 50 days.

Halpin attributed the success of the outage in part to effective preparation and planning by plant personnel.

Ed Halpin

Ed Halpin praised the hard work of PG&E workers and contractors.

“Completing the outage in a safe and efficient manner and returning the unit to service ahead of schedule is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our dedicated employees and contractors—both before and during the outage,” Halpin said. “When considering the scope of work conducted, our team of professionals turned in a world-class performance.”

Each of Diablo Canyon’s two reactor units is refueled about every 18 months. During a planned outage, more than 1,000 trained supplemental workers from around the country are brought in to assist the plant’s nearly 1,500 employees.

Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Peter Candela said these outages provide a major economic boost to the region as out-of-town contractors and their families lodge in hotels, rent homes and patronize local businesses while working at the plant.

“Planned outages at Diablo Canyon help our local businesses thrive,” Candela said. “During each outage, around $5 million is spent locally by visiting workers and their families. We always appreciate the time they spend in our community, and hope they enjoy their experiences visiting Pismo Beach and the region.”

(Click here to see a Currents video story that reported on the economic impact of a 2012 refueling outage at Diablo Canyon.)

Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s two units together produce approximately 2,300 net megawatts of electricity without greenhouse-gas emissions. That total represents about 10 percent of all electricity generated in California, enough energy to meet the needs of more than 3 million Northern and Central Californians.

 

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