Limerick Generating Station

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Limerick Generating Station
LimerickPowerPlant.JPG
NRC image of Limerick Generating Station, Units 1 & 2.
Limerick Generating Station is located in Pennsylvania
Limerick Generating Station
Location of Limerick Generating Station
Country United States
Location Limerick Township, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°13′36″N 75°35′14″W / 40.22667°N 75.58722°W / 40.22667; -75.58722Coordinates: 40°13′36″N 75°35′14″W / 40.22667°N 75.58722°W / 40.22667; -75.58722
Status Operational
Construction began 1974–1989
Commission date Unit 1: February 1, 1986
Unit 2: January 8, 1990
Operator(s) Exelon
Nuclear power station
Reactor type BWR-4
Reactor supplier General Electric
Power generation
Nameplate capacity Unit 1: 1,134 MW
Unit 2: 1,134 MW
Annual generation Unit 1: 9,994 GWh
Unit 2: 9,059 GWh
Website
Limerick Generating Station

The Limerick Generating Station in Pennsylvania is located next to the Schuylkill River in Limerick Township, Montgomery County, northwest of Philadelphia. The facility has two General Electric boiling water reactor (BWR) units, cooled by natural draft cooling towers. When conditions are right, these cooling towers emit enough water vapor to be seen as far away as Centralia in Columbia County.

The two units are capable of producing over 1,200 megawatts of power each, which combined would provide electricity to over 2 million households. Exelon Corporation owns and operates this facility.

For critical standby power, Exelon depends on eight Fairbanks Morse Opposed Piston 38D 8 1/8 Emergency Diesel Generator sets that deliver 26 MW of power and are capable of achieving rated speed within ten seconds of start.

Surrounding population[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[1]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Limerick was 252,197, an increase of 18.7 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for msnbc.com. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 8,027,924, an increase of 6.1 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Philadelphia (28 miles to city center).[2]

History[edit]

The site was chosen and plans to build the station were announced in 1969, by the Philadelphia Electric Company (now PECO Energy, a subsidiary of Exelon). It is located approximately one mile south of Sanatoga, PA. Community protests by the Keystone Alliance and other delays pushed the start of construction by the Bechtel Power Corporation to June 1974.

Limerick Unit 1 first attained criticality (began producing nuclear power, at limited capacity) on December 22, 1984 and was certified for commercial operation on February 1, 1986.

Limerick Unit 2 attained criticality on August 1, 1989, and commercial operation began on January 8, 1990.[3]

Former President George W. Bush visited the Limerick Generating Station in May 2006 to discuss nuclear power and its role in the Advanced Energy Initiative, which he announced at the 2006 State of the Union Address. He toured the facility, including a trip to the control room of the plant.[4]

In 1984, a worker repeatedly triggered contamination alarms as he entered the plant; subsequent investigation showed the contamination's origin to be not the plant but radon in the worker's home (see Health effects of radon).

In May 2011, a glitch shut down a reactor at the plant twice.[5]

On October 20, 2014, the NRC granted extensions for Limerick Units 1 and 2 for another 20 years. The units now are licensed to operate until 2044 and 2049 respectively.[6]

Seismic risk[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Limerick was 1 in 18,868, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[7][8] Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, government regulators announced the plant would undergo further evaluations for seismic activity risk.[9]

A quarry is located nearby which occasionally does blasting, however, this is done with the consent of plant staff and so the risk is negligible.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]