Catawba Nuclear Station

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Catawba Nuclear Station
Catawba Nuclear Station-2.jpg
CountryUnited States
LocationYork, York County, South Carolina
Coordinates35°3.1′N 81°4.2′W / 35.0517°N 81.0700°W / 35.0517; -81.0700Coordinates: 35°3.1′N 81°4.2′W / 35.0517°N 81.0700°W / 35.0517; -81.0700
Construction beganMay 1, 1974 (1974-05-01)
Commission dateUnit 1: June 29, 1985
Unit 2: August 19, 1986
Construction cost$6.594 billion USD (2007)[1]
Operator(s)Duke Energy
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierWestinghouse
Cooling sourceCatawba River
Cooling towers6 × Mechanical Draft
Power generation
Units operational1 × 1146 MW
1 × 1150 MW
Make and modelWH 4-loop (ICECND)
Thermal capacityUnit 1: 3469 MWth[2]
Unit 2: 3411 MWth[3]
Nameplate capacity2296 MW
Capacity factor97.98% (2017)
86.35% (lifetime)
Annual net output19,707 GWh (2017)

The Catawba Nuclear Station is a nuclear power plant located on a 391-acre (158 ha) peninsula, called "Concord Peninsula", that reaches out into Lake Wylie, in York, South Carolina. Catawba utilizes a pair of Westinghouse four-loop pressurized water reactors.[4]

As a part of the Megatons to Megawatts Program Catawba was one of the plants that received and tested 4 fuel assemblies containing MOX fuel with the plutonium supplied from old weapons programs.[5] Because concerns of nuclear proliferation are greater with fuel containing plutonium, special precautions and added security were used around the new fuel. The 4 test assemblies did not perform as expected and at present those plans are shelved.[6]


Surrounding population[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) 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.[9]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Catawba was 213,407, an increase of 53.3 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of 2010 United States Census. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 2,559,394, an increase of 25.0 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Charlotte NC (35 miles to city center).[10]

Seismic risk[edit]

In 2010, the NRC estimated the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Catawba was 1 in 27,027.[11][12]


May 15, 2013[edit]

More than 100 gallons of water contaminated with radioactive tritium was released. However, the levels of tritium were less than one half the EPA limit for tritium, and the leak was contained before it reached ground water.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Catawba Nuclear Station, Unit 1". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Catawba Nuclear Station, Unit 2". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Catawba Nuclear Station". South Carolina Nuclear Profile. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Military Warheads as a Source of Nuclear Fuel". World Nuclear Association. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  6. ^ Pavey, Rob (17 November 2009). "Duke Energy won't do more MOX tests". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  7. ^ (retrieved 1 April 2017)
  8. ^ (retrieved 1 April 2017). According to (retrieved 1 April 2017), PMPA held 25 % of Unit 2.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  10. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors,, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  11. ^ Bill Dedman, What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk,", March 17, 2011.
  12. ^ Memorandum about seismic hazard estimates (pdf, September 2, 2010)
  13. ^ Dyches, Chris (2013). "Emergency Manager: No reason for concern after radioactive leak at nuclear station". Retrieved 8 January 2018.

External links[edit]