Nuclear energy is one of the most reliable sources of electricity that is carbon-free. AEP’s Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant is located in Bridgman, Mich., along Lake Michigan’s eastern shore. At full capacity, the 1,030-net MW Unit 1 and 1,077-net MW Unit 2 combined produce enough electricity for more than 1.5 million average homes. Nuclear power is an important part of our resource portfolio as we transition to a clean energy future.
Cook’s two units were originally designed for a 40-year life, but the licenses were extended by 20 years in 2005. A $1.16 billion Life Cycle Management (LCM) proj¬ect was initiated to determine which components would need to be replaced for the longer plant life. Unit 1 turbines were replaced following a blade failure in 2008, so the Unit 2 turbine replacement became the centerpiece of the 117 LCM projects.
Cook’s nuclear units provide 18 months of continuous electricity before needing to be refueled. In October 2016, Unit 2 began an extended outage for refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing work. The outage was extended due to the replacement of the main turbine and the inspection and replacement of baffle bolts, which support internal components of the reactor vessel. The 89-day refueling outage was completed in early January 2017.
The Cook Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 turbine replacement project was the plant’s biggest Life Cycle Management project; its new three low-pressure and high-pressure turbine rotors will increase generation output at certain times of the year.
The Nuclear Promise
The Cook Nuclear Plant is part of an industrywide multiyear strategy to transform the industry and ensure its long-term viability for consumers and to protect the environment. The strategy, called Delivering the Nuclear Promise, is designed to:
- Identify efficiency measures
- Adopt best practices
- Apply new technology solutions that improve operations, reduce costs and prevent premature reactor retirements.
The three-year initiative began in 2016.