Unit 1 at Susquehanna nuclear plant returns to service

Berwick, Pa. June 24, 2011. Unit 1 at PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear plant in Luzerne County, Pa., resumed generating electricity Friday (6/24) after replacement of damaged turbine blades was completed. 

The turbine blade damage was found during an inspection conducted after similar damage was found on the Unit 2 turbine. The Susquehanna nuclear plant’s two units produce electricity by boiling water to create steam that passes through turbines, each with hundreds of fanlike blades on rotating parts. The turbines turn a main generator on each unit to produce electricity.

Operators at the plant had safely shut down the Unit 1 reactor May 16 as a precaution to inspect the turbine blades.

“In addition to replacing the damaged blades on the Unit 1 turbine, plant personnel completed a number of other maintenance tasks that can only be done when the unit is shut down,” said Timothy S. Rausch, PPL’s chief nuclear officer.

Unit 2 remains shut down as plant workers complete a planned refueling and maintenance outage, and the replacement of damaged turbine blades that were discovered during a routine inspection early in the outage, which began April 5.

“We have completed replacement of the damaged turbine blades on Unit 2, and we are finishing a few remaining maintenance activities necessary for startup,” Rausch said.

As previously announced, PPL Corp. has estimated the after-tax financial impact of the turbine blade inspection and replacement work, including energy-sales margins and repair costs for both units, to be in the range of $50 million to $60 million.

PPL Corp. is maintaining its 2011 forecast of earnings from ongoing operations of $2.50 to $2.75 per share, based on strong first-quarter performance and its most current financial forecast for the year.

The Susquehanna plant is one of PPL Corp.’s generating facilities. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corp., through its affiliates, owns or controls about 19,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets, and delivers electricity and natural gas to about 10 million customers in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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