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PSEG Nuclear Fact Sheet
In the wake of the recent catastrophic natural disaster in Japan, PSEG power has put together this fact sheet to answer questions regarding our Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations.
Are Salem and Hope Creek similar to the Japanese plants?
- Both Salem units are pressurized water reactors. Hope Creek is a General Electric boiling water reactor similar in design to the Japanese reactors – we are still trying to fully understand what design differences may exist.
- Hope Creek generates 1219 megawatts electric net – enough electricity for a million homes.
How are Salem and Hope Creek designed to withstand an earthquake?
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires all nuclear plants to be able to withstand the most severe natural phenomena historically reported for each plant’s geographic area out to 200 miles. The NRC requires all nuclear plant designs to include a substantial margin for safety by requiring the use of conservative criteria.
- PSEG Nuclear’s nuclear plants are designed to withstand substantial earthquakes even though our plants are not in a significant earthquake zone.
- Salem and Hope Creek are engineered to withstand earthquakes of 6.5 on the Richter scale at the plant, which translates into larger earthquakes as measured at the epicenter. The plants are designed to withstand substantial ground motion in an earthquake.
- Every U.S. nuclear power plant performs in-depth seismic analyses and the NRC regularly reviews new information on earthquake sources and ground motion models. Regulations are modified accordingly.
- Salem and Hope Creek did experience a minor earthquake of 2.8 on the Richter scale in July 2009. There were no impacts and the plants continued to operate.
How are Salem and Hope Creek designed to withstand a tsunami?
- The location on the river would buffer the energy of a tsunami prior to reaching Salem and Hope Creek.
- In addition, Salem and Hope Creek are designed to withstand flood levels of 22.9 feet above ground level. The maximum recorded water level of the site was 8.5 feet from a rain storm in 1950.
How are Salem and Hope Creek designed to withstand flooding?
- Emergency core cooling systems are protected from water incursion, including water tight doors, elevation of equipment above potential flood levels and/or special engineered flood barriers.
- Emergency diesel generator exhausts are elevated on roofs.
- Main fuel tanks for emergency diesels are buried underground or enclosed in buildings to prevent impact from severe environments. They cannot float away.
- Electrical switchgear for emergency operations at the plants is protected from floods by elevating them above potential flood levels or protecting them behind watertight doors.
What other things are in place to ensure the safe shutdown of Salem and Hope Creek?
- Plant foundations, structures and equipment are designed to withstand severe ground motion and flooding.
- Our Hope Creek Boiling Water Reactor has multiple systems to provide water to the reactor core in an emergency. Some of these systems are divided into independent subsystems that are powered by multiple redundant power sources. In effect, Hope Creek has six or more ways to put water into the core in an emergency.
- Hope Creek has systems and strategies that minimize hydrogen buildup in secondary containment (better known as the dome). The secondary containment is also a hardened structure made of concrete. The walls are 2 feet, 6 inches thick and the top is 1 foot, 6 inches.
What happens if Salem and Hope Creek lose their power to shutdown?
- Salem and Hope Creek get electricity from at least two independent power lines in the grid that feed into two independent power transformers.
- In an offsite power loss, safe shutdown is ensured through multiple redundant systems specifically designed to maintain electric power when electricity is lost from the grid off site.
- Locomotive-sized emergency backup diesel generators at the plants start automatically if offsite power is lost.
- Each Salem unit has three emergency diesel generators and Hope Creek has four emergency generators; each plant has three battery banks to back up the emergency diesel generators.
- If a used fuel pool were to lose water – even in significant quantities – Salem and Hope Creek have portable, highcapacity pumps to ensure the pools remain filled.
- Emergency water can be drawn using multiple methods from large water sources that include tanks of at least 100,000 gallons, large pools of water designed specifically to remove heat from the reactor core and the river near the plants.
- Salem and Hope Creek plants have “Severe Accident Management Guidelines.” The guidelines prescribe actions beyond normal emergency operating procedures and address severe challenges to the reactor core of the kind seen in Japan. These systems are constantly tested, challenged or simulated to ensure proper operation when needed.
How is spent fuel stored onsite?
- Spent fuel is primarily stored inside spent fuel pools within hardened structures at Salem and Hope Creek. Each of the fuel pools contain more than 390,000 gallons of water – there is more than 23 feet of water from the top of the pools to the top of the spent fuel assemblies inside the pools.
- Additional spent fuel is stored in dry cask storage containers onsite. These containers are made of concrete 27.5 inches thick. They also stand 19 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter and weigh 180 tons each.
Does PSEG Nuclear have an emergency plan?
- PSEG Nuclear partners with Delaware and New Jersey in the development of its emergency plan. The plan is drilled on a quarterly basis with the last drill occurring earlier this month on March 2.
What impact will the Japanese event have on the license renewal of Salem and Hope Creek as well as the early site permit (ESP) to possibly build a new plant?
- As of today, we are continuing with our early site permit application to possibly build a new plant in Salem County. In 2011, we received approval from the NRC to extend the operating licenses of Salem and Hope Creek an additional 20 years. Both stations now have a 60 year operating life. Salem Unit 1’s new license expires in 2036, Salem Unit 2 in 2040 and Hope Creek in 2046.
- As the events in Japan continue to evolve, we anticipate additional questions will be raised. We will provide additional information as requested through both the license renewal and early site permit regulatory processes.
Readers are cautioned that statements contained in this presentation about our and our subsidiaries' future performance, including future revenues, earnings, strategies, prospects, consequences and all other statements that are not purely historical, are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used herein, the words “anticipate”, “intend”, “estimate”, “believe”, “expect”, “plan”, “should”, “hypothetical”, “potential”, “forecast”, “project”, variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although we believe that our expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, they are subject to risks and uncertainties and we can give no assurance they will be achieved. The results or developments projected or predicted in these statements may differ materially from what may actually occur. Factors which could cause results or events to differ from current expectations include, but are not limited to:
• Adverse changes in energy industry law, policies and regulation, including market structures and a potential shift away from competitive markets toward subsidized market mechanisms, transmission planning and cost allocation rules, including rules regarding who is permitted to build transmission going forward, and reliability standards.
• Any inability of our transmission and distribution businesses to obtain adequate and timely rate relief and regulatory approvals from federal and state regulators.
• Changes in federal and state environmental regulations that could increase our costs or limit operations of our generating units.
• Changes in nuclear regulation and/or developments in the nuclear power industry generally that could limit operations of our nuclear generating units.
• Actions or activities at one of our nuclear units located on a multi-unit site that might adversely affect our ability to continue to operate that unit or other units located at the same site.
• Any inability to balance our energy obligations, available supply and trading risks.
• Any deterioration in our credit quality.
• Availability of capital and credit at commercially reasonable terms and conditions and our ability to meet cash needs.
• Any inability to realize anticipated tax benefits or retain tax credits.
• Changes in the cost of, or interruption in the supply of, fuel and other commodities necessary to the operation of our generating units.
• delays in receipt of necessary permits and approvals for our construction and development activities,
• Delays or unforeseen cost escalations in our construction and development activities.
• Adverse changes in the demand for or price of the capacity and energy that we sell into wholesale electricity markets.
• Increase in competition in energy markets in which we compete.
• Adverse performance of our decommissioning and defined benefit plan trust fund investments and changes in discount rates and funding requirements.
• Changes in technology and customer usage patterns.
For further information, please refer to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, including Item 1A. Risk Factors, and subsequent reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These documents address in further detail our business, industry issues and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in this presentation. In addition, any forward-looking statements included herein represent our estimates only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our estimates as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements from time to time, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our internal estimates change, unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws.
Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) is a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of more than $11billion, and three principal subsidiaries: PSEG Power, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and PSEG Energy Holdings.
Bill Levis testifies before Senate Appropriations Committee
on behalf of the nuclear industry. Read Levis’ testimony here.