Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Station
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|Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant|
Laguna Verde NPP
|Location||Alto Lucero, Veracruz Mexico|
|Commission date||1990 (Unit 1)
1995 (Unit 2)
|Operator(s)||Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE)|
|Reactors operational||2 reactors|
|Reactor type(s)||Boiling Water Reactors (BWR-5)|
|Power generation information|
|Installed capacity||1,365 MW|
|Annual generation||4,782 GW·h x 2|
Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP) is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in Alto Lucero, Veracruz, Mexico. It is the largest nuclear power plant in Mexico and produces about 4.5% of the country's electrical energy. LVNPP has an original installed capacity of 1,365 megawatts (MW). It consists of two units GE Boiling Water Reactors (BWR-5) using Uranium (U235 Isotope 3% enriched) as fuel. Unit-1 (U-1) started its operation on July 29, 1990. Unit-2 (U-2) started its operation on April 10, 1995. Initial architects in 1975 for the plant were Burns and Roe Inc and later Ebasco Services designed and supervised the project. The steam turbine and other components were manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric (licenced by CFE) The plant is owned and operated by Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), the national electric company owned by the Mexican government.
Laguna Verde has been considered a strategic facility for Sistema Eléctrico Nacional (SEN/National Power System), due to its high power generation capacity, lowest operating cost, and frequency and voltage regulation capacity. All the electric power generated is delivered to its single client: Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENACE/National Energy Control Center). CENACE is entrusted with the function of planning, directing, and supervising the transmission and distribution of electric power to end user. CENACE has classified LVNPP as Base Load Power Plant since the beginning of its operations.
The annual generation average for LVNPP in the last 5 years has been of 10,479 GWh, electric energy sufficient to meet the demand of more than 4 million inhabitants.
May 5th 2011, several news agencies released false information stating that an explosion had taken place at the plant. The CFE and the Mexican government have both stated that this information is completely false and that the plant is operating as usual.
The generation of electric power at the CLV is based on the technology of nuclear fission of Uranium atoms, which takes place in the reactor. The energy released by the nuclear fission is transferred as heat from the fuel to the cooling water, which boils into steam. The quality of steam is controlled through a separator and dryer. The separator and dryer are part of the internal processes of the reactor pressure vessel. Power from each reactor is 3,944 kilotons/hour (kt/h) of steam to generate 682 MW of electric power. Both Reactor Units (U1 and U2) operate using 444 enriched uranium assemblies, storing power equal to 38.9 million oil barrels. This nuclear fuel is specifically designed to be admitted into the core of the reactor. The fuel is purchased only from qualified vendors worldwide.
After 18 months of operation, between 25% and 30% of the nuclear fuel is replaced. This activity is called "Refueling Outage" process. The turbine transforms power from steam (kinetic energy) into mechanical energy causing an electric generator to move (electric power production). Once the steam has gone through the turbine, it is cooled in a condenser; the water obtained in this manner is pumped again toward the nuclear reactor, to restart the generation cycle.
Power Uprate 
In 2007 CFE signed a contract with an investment of $600 million USD to increase the original capability of each of the units of Laguna Verde by 20%, equivalent to 255 MW, in order to tend the growth of the demand of electric power in Mexico. This power uprate will allow to LVNPP an additional annual generation of 2,122 GWh, equivalent to the demand of a city of 800 thousand inhabitants.
GE and CFE jointly performed the engineering analysis to determine the necessary plant modifications and to support the safety analysis report necessary for approval of the power uprate by the Mexican nuclear regulator Comisión Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y Salvaguardias ([www.cnsns.gob.mx/ CNSNS/National Commission on Nuclear Safety and Safeguards]).
Work began in 2008 by Iberdrola and Alstom and is expected to finish late 2010. The main modifications consist in a turbine and condenser retrofit and the replacement of the electric generator, main steam reheater and the feedwater heater. The budget for the project is $605 million dollars.
In 2009, Laguna Verde obtained Annual recognition as a Socially Responsible Enterprise awarded by the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy.
The following table shows the chronologic developments at Laguna Verde.
|1976||Implementation of the Quality Assurance Program as part of the international nuclear standard during the construction phase|
|1982||Implementation of the Quality Assurance Program in the operation phase|
|1990||Start of Reactor Unit 1 commercial operation|
|1991||World record broken for reaching 250 days of continuous operation (without interruptions) during the first generation cycle|
|1995||Start of Reactor Unit 2 commercial operation|
|1995||Laguna Verde used as a base to institutionalize the Total Quality program at the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) nationwide|
|1995||Accreditation of the Environmental Engineering Laboratory by the Mexican Accrediting Entity|
|1997||For the first time, CFE awards the Total Quality institutional prize, won by the Laguna Verde|
|1997||ISO 9001:1994 quality standard certification is obtained as part of the Continuous improvement program|
|1999||ISO 14001 quality standard certification was obtained|
|1999||Power generation boosted by 5% (sufficient to satisfy the needs of 200,000 persons)|
|2002||Certification in the Mexican Industrial Safety Standard NMX-SAST-001-IMNC-2000, which is the equivalent of the international OSHAS-18000.|
|2003||Certification in the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Standard based on process management.|
|2004||Laguna Verde reached Level-3 in the WANO excellence rating (maximum 1, minimum 5)|
|2004 to 2007||CLV significantly reduced the duration of refueling outage periods to 27 days|
|2005||Prize for the Nuclear Power Station with the best performance outside the USA given by WANO/ATLANTA|
|2005||Approval of the Extended Power Uprate Project (EPU) with an investment of $600 million USD, which will make it possible to increase the installed capacity by 20% compared with the original and which is strategically important to extend the station's useful life up to 50 years|
|2006 and 2008||Clean Industry biennial certification issued by the Mexican government through the Federal Environment Protection Agency as a result of complying with the 66 environment and safety standards|
|2006||Laguna Verde reached Level-2 in the WANO excellence rating, the highest level obtained by a nuclear power station outside the United States according to WANO/ATLANTA|
|2006||Recognition for world-class operation performance in Reactor Units 1 and 2 granted by General Electric|
|2006||Accreditation of the Metrology Laboratory by the Mexican Accrediting Entity|
|2007||Environmental Excellence Recognition (the highest award for the environment) obtained by the Mexican government because of high sustainability in the preservation of natural resources|
|2008||Laguna Verde obtains National Quality Prize 2007, which the highest recognition for policy and strategy quality and execution in congruence with the competitiveness and sustainability results obtained|
|2008 to 2009||Annual recognition as a Socially Responsible Enterprise awarded by the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy in compliance with ethical values, community support and respect and care for the environment|
|2009||Iberoamerican Quality Prize 2009 obtained, the highest award given by the Fundación Iberoamericana para Gestión de la Calidad (FUNDIBEQ/Iberoamerican Quality Management Foundation)|
|2010||Laguna Verde Manager receives the Nuclear Excellence Recognition delivered by WANO during Biennial Meeting, for promoting leadership that makes an extraordinary contribution to the promotion of Safe Operation Excellence at nuclear power stations|
See also 
- México apostará fuerte a explotar “energías limpias”, incluida la nuclear (La Crónica de Hoy, 31 March 2010)
- Repotenciación de la planta de energía nuclear en Laguna Verde (Mexican Presidency Official Website, 22 May 2006)
- Profile of Laguna Verde NPP (Publication inside WANO, Volume 13 Number 2 Year 2005)
- Entrega Premio Fundación Iberoamericana Edición 2009 (FUNDIBEQ, 2009)
- Conoce sobre la generación de Energía Eléctrica por medios Nucleares (CFE)
- Listado de centrales nucleoeléctricas generadoras en México (CFE)