Note on the Oconee Top Plant
Some of our readers may have been confused by the wording of a press release about our November issue’s nuclear Top Plants, the table of contents blurb about Duke’s Oconee plant, or a sentence in the cover story about that plant. In the interest of brevity, it seems we sacrificed clarity. We did not mean to imply that this was the first of any digital control systems upgrades in the U.S. In fact, POWER has written about such upgrades at Oconee and elsewhere in the past. The award this year was for a specific safety-related system digital upgrade.
Derek Halverson, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman, told POWER on November 8 that what Oconee installed was “the first complete integrated digital reactor protection and engineered safeguards system of any U.S. commercial nuclear power plant.” Halverson further clarified: “Many NRC-licensed plants have at least partially upgraded their control systems, both safety related and non-safety related, from analog to digital technology. For example, many plants have installed digital technology in at least a small portion of their safety-related I&C systems, even if only to support operator indications. However, there are still safety-related I&C systems at Oconee and the other NRC licensed nuclear power plants that remain analog.”