In what turned out to be one of the shortest refueling outages in recent history, the team at Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 is now back in service, on-line to the transmission grid after just 30-days.
Engineers completed the refueling outage at 4:13pm yesterday, Monday, October 19th, just a month after the outage began on September 19th. This particular outage was notably shorter than past outages, in part due to deliberate efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing activities, other significant project work included upgrades to the main control room electrical distribution system, and inspections on the main generator that were required following a stator rewind project completed in the previous refueling outage in the spring of 2019.
Joel Gebbie, AEP’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, tells us, “In the early stages of the pandemic, we were able to see how other nuclear plants around the world managed the impact on their workforce,” and adds, “We made a significant effort to reduce those potential impacts on our fall 2020 Unit 1 refueling outage. This included bringing in a smaller-than-usual supplemental workforce, and postponing non-essential elective work to shorten the duration of our outage. These measures, along with many others, allowed us to complete our outage safely and successfully.”
Prior to the start of the outage, Cook’s Unit 1 had operated for 499 consecutive days at a capacity factor of 98.1-percent, generating 12,242,705 megawatt-hours of electricity. It was the third straight cycle that Cook Unit 1 consistently remained online between refueling outages, also known as a “back-to-back, breaker-to-breaker run.”
Cook Nuclear Plant is owned and operated by Indiana Michigan Power, an AEP company, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At full capacity, the 1,084-net MW Unit 1 and 1,194-net MW Unit 2 combined produce enough electricity for more than one and one half million average homes. I&M has at its availability various sources of generation including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, more than 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,620 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.