PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station achieved its 21st consecutive year in 2012 as the nation’s largest power producer. The 31.9 million megawatt-hours of net production is the most ever generated by Palo Verde or by any other U.S. power station of any kind. Palo Verde is the only U.S. generating facility to ever produce more than 30 million megawatt-hours in a year – an operation accomplishment the plant has achieved eight times.
According to industry data, Unit 1 produced more electricity in 2012 than any other reactor in the U.S. and was the third most productive in the world. Despite a scheduled refueling outage in fall 2012, Unit 2 was the third most productive reactor in the U.S. and ranked ninth in the world. Unit 3, which completed a scheduled refueling outage in spring 2012, ranked sixth in the U.S. and 17th in the world. Palo Verde’s three reactors are part of 104 operating units in the U.S. and 437 in the world.
“For the third consecutive year, the plant has increased production resulting from efficient refueling outages, planned maintenance and upgraded equipment,” said Randy Edington, Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service Co., the operator and largest owner of Palo Verde. “The efforts of our highly skilled employees and the installation of new steam generators, high efficiency low-pressure turbine rotors, new reactor vessel heads and rapid refueling machines have resulted in increased output and decreased time for planned activities that keeps the plant off-line.”
Other 2012 accomplishments include:
- Test success. All 27 members of Palo Verde’s class of reactor operator and senior reactor operator trainees passed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission exam in 2012. The class was the largest in the industry with a 100 percent passing rate. The licensing exam culminates 18 months of rigorous classroom, simulator and on-the-job training. The exam consists of both an operating portion and written portion.
- Outstanding continuous operation. Unit 2 recorded the best performance in plant history with 518 consecutive days on line, ending October 5, 2012. The previous Palo Verde record for consecutive days on line (also held by Unit 2) was 515, completed in 1999. Unit 1 and 3’s longest consecutive runs are 502 and 509 days, respectively.
Low radiation exposure. Unit 2 surpassed a record for lowest
outage radiation exposure in the nuclear industry. Palo Verde’s Unit 2
refueling outage completed in November recorded the lowest ever at 19
rem, besting the record set by Palo Verde Unit 1 in 2011 at 20 rem.
In addition, the collective radiation dose for workers at Palo Verde was the lowest in the facility’s history and a record for the U.S. commercial nuclear energy industry.
Rem is an abbreviation for roentgen equivalent man, a measurement of ionizing radiation. One rem is equivalent to receiving one upper gastrointestinal (GI) computerized tomography (CT) scan.
“We will continue to improve our performance and stay on course to achieve our mission to ‘SAFELY’ and efficiently generate electricity for the long term,’” Edington concluded.
Palo Verde is the largest nuclear power station in the nation. Its three units can generate more than 4 million kilowatts of safe, clean, reliable, low-cost electricity every hour – enough to serve about 4 million people.
In addition to the energy produced, Palo Verde has an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion in Arizona through taxes, salaries, purchases of materials and services, and more.
Palo Verde is operated by APS and jointly owned by APS, Salt River Project, Southern California Edison Co., El Paso Electric Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Southern California Public Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).