CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 15, 2003 — Duke Power’s nuclear program in 2002 compiled its most productive year in history, setting a host of company records.
Duke Power-operated nuclear stations had a combined capacity factor of 95.21 percent, considerably above the company’s previous best of 92.33 percent set in 2000. Capacity factor is the measure of how much electricity is produced, compared with the amount of electricity a unit is capable of producing, within a given time period.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the national average capacity factor through September 2002 (the latest statistics available) was 91.9 percent.
A high nuclear capacity factor is beneficial to the customer because it means more electricity is being provided by nuclear generation, which has low fuel costs. This means stable electric rates. Duke Power customers are paying basically the same rate for electricity as in 1986.
The seven units operated by Duke Power — three at Oconee and two each at Catawba and McGuire — generated almost 58.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity, more than 1.5 million megawatt-hours greater than the company’s previous high of 56.7 million megawatt-hours in 2000.
One megawatt-hour is enough electricity to service about 1,000 homes for one hour.
Nuclear energy provided approximately 57 percent of Duke Power customers’ energy needs in 2002.
Here are some other 2002 highlights:
* Lowest system production costs — $13.53 per megawatt-hour, compared to the previous best of $13.99 per megawatt-hour set in 2000.
* Longest continuous seven-unit system run — 87 days from May 18 to August 14, when demand for electricity was highest
Each station also achieved individual records.
Oconee Nuclear Station
* Unit 3 recorded its highest-ever capacity factor, 100.74, and greatest production, roughly 7.5 million megawatt-hours
* Unit 1 posted its most efficient refueling outage, approximately 36 days
* And the station realized its highest-ever capacity factor, 93.03 percent and greatest production, nearly 20.7 million megawatt-hours of electricity
Catawba Nuclear Station
* Unit 1 completed a record run of 463 days on line
* Unit 1 also set an industry record for most efficient refueling outage by an ice condenser-equipped plant, roughly 21 days
* Unit 2 recorded its highest-ever capacity factor, 102.85 percent, and
greatest output, almost 10.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity
* The station shattered its capacity factor record at 99.36 percent, considerably better than the previous mark of 93.79 percent set in 2001. Consequently, the station generated more electricity than ever before, almost 19.7 million megawatt-hours.
McGuire Nuclear Station
* Both unit 1 and unit 2 set individual records for most efficient refueling outages. Unit 1 accomplished its mark in approximately 26 days; and unit 2 in roughly 32 days
“What is most gratifying about these accomplishments is our nuclear program stepped up when drought conditions limited the effectiveness of some of Duke Power’s other generation,” said Michael S. Tuckman, executive vice president, nuclear generation.
“We were a model of consistency, reliability and cost efficiency. Our employees are to be highly commended for maintaining focus and getting the job done during challenging times,” he added.
Tuckman said the achievements of 2002 were wonderful, but 2003 is a new year with its own unique challenges. “We don’t have time to dwell on past successes,” he said. “Our customers depend on us to provide a vital service every day.”
Oconee Nuclear Station is a three-unit power plant located on Lake Keowee, near Seneca, S.C. Each of its units is rated at 846 megawatts. Oconee unit 1 began commercial operation in 1973; units 2 and 3 in 1974.
McGuire Nuclear Station is a two-unit power plant located on Lake Norman, in Huntersville, N.C. Each of its units is rated at 1,100 megawatts. McGuire unit 1 began commercial operation in 1981; unit 2 in 1984.
Catawba Nuclear Station is a two-unit power plant located on Lake Wylie in York County, S.C. Each of its units is rated at 1,129 megawatts. Catawba unit 1 began commercial operation in 1985; unit 2 in 1986. The station is jointly owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, Saluda River Electric Cooperative Inc and Duke Power.
Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to approximately two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,300 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.
Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses — meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.