Return Timeline For AEP’s Cook Nuclear Unit 1 Defined By Repair, Replacement Scenario
BRIDGMAN, Mich. – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) continues work to repair Cook Nuclear Plant’s damaged Unit 1 turbine generator. A repair option may allow operation at reduced power, but the rotors will ultimately be replaced to ensure the long-term viability of the unit. The expected return-to-service timeline ranges from the second half of 2009, if repair is successful, to 2010 if the rotors must be replaced before operation.
AEP anticipates that all costs incurred to return Cook Unit 1 to service will be recovered through insurance, vendor warranty or the regulatory process. Repair and replacement of the turbine rotors is estimated to cost up to $332 million.
The unit has been out of service since Sept. 20 after severe turbine vibrations, caused by broken low-pressure turbine blades, damaged the main turbine and generator. In 2006, three new low-pressure turbines, manufactured by Siemens, were installed in Cook Unit 1. Blades broke on two of these three turbines. The high-pressure turbine and main generator are original plant equipment manufactured by General Electric.
“We want to return Cook Unit 1 to service as soon as it is feasible and we can ensure reliable long-term operation,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our expectations are that the low-pressure turbine rotors can be repaired and the unit will return to service in the second half of 2009.”
The best-case scenario, with successful repairs and expedited parts deliveries, estimates a return to service in September 2009. This repair option includes straightening the rotor shafts and modifying each rotor by removing one or two of the largest rows of blades until new rotors can be manufactured. Returning to service without one or two rows of blades would result in an approximate power reduction of 100 to 250 megawatts (MW) from Unit 1’s rated net capacity of 1,030 MW. Work to straighten the first rotor shaft has started. Work on the third rotor will finish in mid-January.
If the repair is not successful, the unit will not restart until new rotors are available. AEP and Siemens are pursuing turbine rotor replacement in parallel with repair. The manufacturing schedule of long lead-time items will result in a low-pressure turbine rotor delivery date and return to service in 2010.
The General Electric high-pressure turbine and main generator rotors are undergoing repairs at a GE facility in Chicago. Both are expected to be returned to Cook prior to the return of the repaired low-pressure turbine rotors.
At the Cook site, additional inspection and repair work continues on the turbine support and auxiliary systems. This work is also scheduled for completion in first-quarter 2009 prior to the return of the low-pressure rotors to the site. More than 400 additional contractors are currently performing that work.
The refueling outage for Cook Unit 2, which continues to operate at full power, will take place as scheduled in the spring of 2009. Unit 2 is rated at 1,070 MW net. The refueling outage scheduled in the fall of 2009 for Cook Unit 1 will be moved into 2010, with the date dependent on the return to service. AEP anticipates sufficient reserve generating capacity so the loss of the capacity from the Cook unit does not affect AEP´s ability to serve customers.
“The safe and reliable operation of the Cook units is our primary focus,” said Michael Rencheck, AEP senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We have the top experts from Siemens and GE working on Unit 1 turbine repairs, and we’ll manage all the work in the manner that best supports our commitment to the long-term safe and reliable operation of the entire station and to the benefit of our customers.”
Indiana Michigan Power, the AEP utility that operates Cook Nuclear Plant, maintains property insurance with a $1 million deductible that covers repair costs. Indiana Michigan Power also maintains a separate accidental outage policy whereby, after a 12-week deductible period, the company is entitled to weekly payments of $3.5 million for the first 52 weeks following the deductible period. The weekly indemnity lowers to $2.8 million after the initial 52 weeks of indemnity.
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