Limerick Generating Station
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|Limerick Generating Station|
NRC image of Limerick Generating Station, Units 1 & 2.
Location of Limerick Generating Station in Pennsylvania
|Location||Limerick Township, Pennsylvania|
|Status||Unit 1: Operational, Unit 2: Operational|
|Commission date||Unit 1: February 1, 1986
Unit 2: January 8, 1990
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor supplier||General Electric|
|Nameplate capacity||Unit 1 + 2: 2,317 MW|
|Average generation||Unit 1: 9,994 GWh
Unit 2: 9,059 GWh
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 each deliver 3000 kilowatts of power and are capable of achieving rated speed within ten seconds of start.
Limerick Generating Station is running at full power at all times. Unit 2 of the station was scrammed from 100% power to a shutdown on June 1, 2016 at 9am. The reactor was shutdown due to an electrical fault, causing the stopping of the recirculation pumps. The steam bypass valves that lead to the main condenser were opened and Limerick went through a normal hot shutdown process.
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.
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).
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.
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.
On October 20, 2014, the NRC granted extensions for Limerick Units 1 and 2 for another 30 years. The units now are licensed to operate until 2044 and 2049 respectively.
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. Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, government regulators announced the plant would undergo further evaluations for seismic activity risk.
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.
- Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, msnbc.com, April 14, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42555888/ns/us_news-life/ Accessed May 1, 2011.
- President Discusses Energy During Visit to Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania
- NRC Renews Operating Licenses of Limerick Nuclear Plant for an Additional 20 Years. U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," msnbc.com, March 17, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ Accessed April 19, 2011.
- "American Nuclear Power Under Scrutiny After Disaster In Japan", CBS Philadelphia. March 14, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2011
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