Florida Power & Light Company’s Nuclear Extended Power Uprate (EPU) project has been honored by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) with two Top Industry Practice (TIP) awards for innovation and excellence. The TIP awards are the most prestigious honor in the nuclear industry, recognizing top innovators in safety, efficiency, plant performance and community relations. The awards were presented during ceremonies at NEI’s annual Nuclear Energy Assembly meeting on May 14, in Washington, D.C.
FPL completed the EPU project in April 2013. EPUs are a proven, safe and reliable way to increase power output from existing nuclear power plants without the need for new plant construction. The multi-year, multibillion-dollar investment to upgrade the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear power plants added more than 500 new megawatts of clean energy capacity – nearly 30 percent more capacity than originally projected, and the equivalent of building a new mid-size generation plant. The project is the largest nuclear uprate project in the United States, and created thousands of jobs, with an average of 3,500 people working on the project every day during 2012 alone.
“With consistently low fuel costs, zero emissions and the ability to operate around the clock, nuclear power is a critical component of our state’s energy mix today and tomorrow,” said FPL President Eric Silagy. “Since 2001, FPL has reduced its use of foreign oil by 98 percent precisely because of innovative projects like this. By increasing the amount of power that our nuclear plants can generate, we have added the equivalent of a new, medium-sized nuclear power plant to Florida’s generation fleet, without having to build one. This project and all of the benefits it delivers for our customers would not have been possible without Florida’s forward thinking nuclear cost recovery law.”
The EPU is projected to save FPL customers billions of dollars on fossil fuel costs over its lifetime. The scope and complexity of the project was unique in the nuclear industry; it included hundreds of design modifications and required more than 22 million hours of work — more than three times the amount of labor that it took to build the Empire State Building.
FPL also received the Community Relations TIP award for its execution of a comprehensive program to engage and educate stakeholders and the public about the many benefits of the Extended Power Uprate project and the company’s nuclear plants. In particular, the outreach efforts highlighted the critical role FPL’s nuclear power plants play as an economic driver for the community, how nuclear power is a key component in keeping customer bills the lowest of Florida’s 55 electric utilities, and how emission-free nuclear energy helps preserve the state’s environment for future generations.
“From a technical perspective, this project was arguably one of the most challenging in the history of the industry. The FPL team not only delivered for our customers, but developed a number of innovative best practices that can now be replicated across the industry,” said Chief Nuclear Officer Mano Nazar. “These awards are a real credit to the members of our team who work around the clock to safely produce reliable, emissions-free energy that helps keep FPL’s customers’ bills low.”
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) works to ensure the formation of policies that promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies in the United States and around the world.